Akin strikes out six straight in Orioles' 5-1 win over Braves; Rays come in for five-game series - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

Akin strikes out six straight in Orioles’ 5-1 win over Braves; Rays come in for five-game series

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

BALTIMORE—Keegan Akin was overpowering in his five innings, earning his first major league win and leading the Orioles to a series victory over a quality offensive club.

Akin was so strong that he struck out nine batters, including six in a row at one point, as the Orioles defeated the Atlanta Braves, 5-1, on Wednesday night at Camden Yards.

The Orioles took two of three against the Braves, who lead the National League East. The Orioles’ record is 22-27 with 11 games to play.

Akin rebounded from a difficult outing at Yankee Stadium last Saturday when he was pulled after throwing just 39 pitches to seven batters and recording two outs.

“After last week’s start, it was crucial for me to bounce back and get all my pitches working early to get my rhythm to carry that momentum deep into the game,” Akin said on a video conference call.

With two on and two out in the first, Akin struck out Dansby Swanson.In the second, Akin fanned Adam Duvall, Austin Riley and Tyler Flowers. He began the third by striking out Ozzie Albies and Ronald Acuna.

“I’m a big tempo guy on the mound,” Akin said. “When I get in a rhythm, I like to stay in it and go, just go, go, go. I didn’t even know I struck out six until you just told me. You just kind of zone in. It’s a blur, really, and you go.”

Akin gave up singles to Travis d’Arnaud in the first, and Riley and Albies in the fifth. He walked Freddie Freeman in the first.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Akin was the first Oriole pitcher to strike out six in a row since John Wasdin, last year’s bullpen coach, did it on September 30, 2001 at Yankee Stadium. Sammy Stewart holds the club record with seven straight on September 1, 1978 against the Chicago White Sox.

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“I just love the aggressiveness in his attack,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “That’s a really good lineup to go five innings scoreless against, a lot of veteran hitters, a lot of talented young players, also. To do what he did was impressive.”

After 93 pitches, Dillon Tate relieved Akin in the sixth. Freeman led off with a single, moved to second on a passed ball, to third on an infield out and scored on a balk.

Hunter Harvey, Tanner Scott and César Valdez pitched scoreless innings to finish Atlanta.

The Orioles scored three runs in the third against Cole Hamels, who made his first start of the season. Austin Hays led off with a double. Andrew Velazquez walked, and Hanser Alberto’s double scored Hays. José Iglesias’ infield out scored Velazquez, and Ryan Mountcastle’s sacrifice fly to center brought in Alberto.

Alberto has enjoyed playing behind Akin and Dean Kremer.

“It’s really fun,” Alberto said. “They’ve done a really good job. They’ve made pitches really well. They follow the catcher really good. The defenders are making plays, making innings easy for them.

“That’s a good setup for next year. I’m happy that they’re doing a really good job right now. Next year, they come with confidence, and they’ll do a better job.”

Renato Núñez led off the fourth with a long drive to left that Marcell Ozuna leaped for, and caught, taking a home run away. That was Hamels’ final pitch.

The Orioles took a 5-1 lead in the sixth when Iglesias led off with a single, and Pedro Severino singled with one out. Both scored on a Núñez double to left.

Odds and ends: Kremer will pitch the first game of Thursday’s doubleheader against the Tampa Bay Rays, who will close out the Orioles’ home schedule in a five-game series. Hyde said the Orioles probably will throw a pitcher from the Bowie alternate site in the second game. Blake Snell will pitch the first game, which begins at 4:35 p.m. On Friday night, Alex Cobb is scheduled to face Tyler Glasnow. Saturday night’s pitchers will be Jorge López against Charlie Morton. On Sunday it will be John Means against a pitcher to be announced by Tampa Bay … Shawn Armstrong, who’s been on the 10-day injured list since August 22nd because of a lower-back injury, has begun to throw at the alternate site in Bowie. Hyde isn’t sure whether he’ll be able to pitch before the end of the season … Iglesias left Wednesday’s game after he was hit in the right shin by a pitch in the eighth inning.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. spwagner44

    September 17, 2020 at 8:34 am

    Iglesias is done for year I guess? Frustrating!

    • PrayinForReign

      September 17, 2020 at 9:10 am

      Typical. I finally learn how to spell the dude’s name and he’s finished…

      • mmcmillan1123

        September 17, 2020 at 9:24 am

        Agree with Boog. Great bounce back game by Akin! When we can beat the Yankees consistently we will have turned the corner. Hopefully our future starting five will be Means,Akin,Kremer,DL Hall and Grayson Rodriguez with Michael Bowman,Zac Lother and Bruce Zimmerman waiting in the wings if any of the first five falters or gets injured. Finally, some starting pitching depth!

    • Rich Dubroff

      September 17, 2020 at 9:24 am

      Hang on, Iglesias wanted to stay in the game, and as I tweeted last night, Hyde said he would get X-Rays as a precaution. Injury not believed to be serious.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        September 17, 2020 at 12:20 pm

        Rich, I watched Iglesias running last night, and he seemed like he wasn’t going all out. If memory servers me, early in the game he hit a line drive down the left field line in which he only got a single. Later he stopped at 3rd base on somebody else’s base hit, and didn’t seem to be running all out. All this before he left the game.

        Is he still nursing that quad that you know of?

        I know I’ve been dogging him all year, claiming he’s a step short in his range .. but this would help explain that.

        • Rich Dubroff

          September 17, 2020 at 4:34 pm

          Yes, Ken, as I wrote a couple of weeks back, Hyde says that the quad is an injury that needs to be “managed.”

  2. Boog Robinson Robinson

    September 17, 2020 at 8:49 am

    The signs for this team’s 2021 version just keep on getting better. Between Means, Kremer and Stewart, the starting staff is coming together. Other than 3rd base, the lineup looks pretty solid. With the addition of a few pieces to the pitching staff, I see no reason why this team can’t be a playoff contender next year.

    • Bhoffman1

      September 17, 2020 at 9:16 am

      You mean Akins I think. Your comment on Mancini yesterday I don’t agree with. 29 is not old and as long as he is healthy he can return to the great form he had in 2019 especially playing his natural position. I do agree that if this team fills a few holes next year can be contending not rebuilding .

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        September 17, 2020 at 9:36 am

        Yes of course Akins ..not Stewart. Also, Bauman could be ready soon. Is there a chance we could see him this year?

        • Bancells Moustache

          September 17, 2020 at 12:38 pm

          Baumann has been shut down for the year due to his elbow.

          I’m optimisic as well, Boog. Playoff contention might be a bridge too far, but I do expect to see them finishing close enough to .500 to blow it a kiss, and scrapping for at least 3rd place. Anything additional would be gravy, but look at the strides the White Sox and Blue Jays have made. The main thing is, thank the heavens, I think we all go into spring 2021 feeling pretty good about these Birds.

    • Birdman

      September 17, 2020 at 11:09 am

      I certainly wouldn’t count on it, but if somehow Cobb could finally produce a decent season next year, that would be an added bonus for the starting staff.

      • Bancells Moustache

        September 17, 2020 at 11:45 am

        I’m in the “sell Cobb for a bag of balls this winter” camp. Expecting him to suddenly turn into a top of the rotation guy is foolish. We’ve seen Alex Cobb. This is what he is, a mediocre arm who parlayed a couple nice seasons in Tampa into financial security for his family. Gimme youth in 2021, no more rusty monuments to the Showalter era.

        • CalsPals

          September 17, 2020 at 11:50 am

          Totally agree with you on this…go O’s…

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          September 17, 2020 at 12:28 pm

          I’d be happy if he were suddenly our 4th or 5th starter. I say bring him back and see where we’re at in the spring. Pitching is so very hard to find, don’t give him away.

  3. CalsPals

    September 17, 2020 at 9:24 am

    Has anyone else noticed the last 2-3 weeks how badly Severino has played defensively…go O’s…

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      September 17, 2020 at 9:37 am

      I’ve noticed … and the bat is sliding as well.

      • Orial

        September 17, 2020 at 10:25 am

        That’s because I picked him as the team’s MVP 2 weeks ago. I have that affect in things.

    • Hallbe62

      September 17, 2020 at 4:07 pm

      Yes. He’s a tad bit lazy back there at times.

  4. Orial

    September 17, 2020 at 10:34 am

    Wouldn’t even give Akin a second thought 3 weeks. Thought he was just another in the long line of chubby underachueving O’s prospects. Boy was I wrong. He and Valdez seem to have hitters baffled. Speaking of Valdez I expect to see him and Valaika on next year’s club.

  5. NormOs

    September 17, 2020 at 12:20 pm

    I will write on another subject……….I watch every game and have come to the conclusion that it is past time to have technology calling the balls and strikes. Umpires can’t do it, and it gets worse with every passing game. Why is it that technology is used to determine safe or out calls, fair or foul calls, home run calls, etc., but the most important calls, BALLS AND STRIKES are left to people that are not capable only because they’re human. Am I wrong or right and it doesn’t take technology to answer that? Because baseball has been doing this way for 150 years doesn’t mean something better shouldn’t be considered and implemented. This is a mistake that has to be corrected. Also I will be able to stop screaming at the T V.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      September 17, 2020 at 12:32 pm

      I’m of the opinion that MLB doesn’t really want balls and strikes called by the book. The lower strike zone results in more home runs, and right or wrong, good or bad, that’s what baseball has been selling for a long time now.

      This may be a reason (along with unions) they’re not going to it anytime soon.

      Personally, it would really peeve me off if they did use the technology, and STILL not call them as the book dictates.

    • TxBirdFan

      September 17, 2020 at 2:16 pm

      Personally I like umpires calling balls and strikes. It’s far from perfect but it’s a part of baseball I don’t want to see disappear.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        September 17, 2020 at 2:44 pm

        I’m with you on that Tex. A human calling balls & strikes adds a different element to each game. I just wish they’d honestly call it by the books for more reasons than I’ll go into here.

        I’m not even crazy about the way replay is used. IMO, the team should be forced to challenge a call … and challenge it immediately, like within 5 seconds of the call. No time to have a look at the replay in the clubhouse, or where ever they’re monitoring things. And NO umpire or “New York” challenges either.

        • NormOs

          September 17, 2020 at 6:50 pm

          Guys, do you want it right or stylish?

    • Raymo

      September 17, 2020 at 7:23 pm

      It ain’t a ball or a strike until the umpire calls it. I would prefer that they use the robots to rate the umpires rather than actually make the calls during the game. Then MLB could weed out the under performing umpires (assuming the union would allow that).

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