Rocky debut for Ellicott City's Zimmermann, ugly fifth for Orioles help Rays complete sweep -

Rich Dubroff

Rocky debut for Ellicott City’s Zimmermann, ugly fifth for Orioles help Rays complete sweep

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

BALTIMORE—It was a night Ellicott City’s Bruce Zimmermann will remember, even if he wishes the outcome had turned out differently.

Zimmermann had his contract purchased from the Bowie alternate site, and the rookie left-hander had a rough debut in the second game of a doubleheader against the Tampa Bay Rays, allowing five runs on four hits in three-plus innings in the Orioles’ 10-6 loss Thursday night at Camden Yards.

It completed a sweep for the Rays, who defeated the Orioles, 3-1, in the first game.

After successful debuts by Keegan Akin and Dean Kremer, the Orioles hoped that Zimmermann also would find success in his first major league game.

“I’ve been to this stadium numerous times with family and friends, watching the Orioles, but it was a little different feeling driving up to the stadium today,” Zimmermann said. “I was taking it all in and realizing it was the culmination of a lot of hard work.”

In the bottom of the first, Zimmermann hit Hunter Renfroe and walked Brandon Lowe. With two outs, Willy Adames, who struck out four times in Game 1, hit a three-run home run to left.

“I thought I’d have a little bit more nerves but, honestly, the worst of my nerves was like an hour before the first game,” Zimmermann said. “I went out into the dugout by myself and it kind of just hit me a little bit, but once I got out in the bullpen and started working and got that done, it really wasn’t that bad.”

Hanser Alberto homered with one out in the second, his third, and in the top of the third, DJ Stewart walked and scored on Ryan Mountcastle’s double against Trevor Richards.

Renfroe homered to begin the bottom of the third, his eighth, and the Rays had a 4-2 lead.


“Overall, I felt like my stuff was good, and it was a start that I can build on,” Zimmermann said. “I’m looking forward to the next one.”

The Orioles scored four in the fourth. Chance Sisco led off with a single and, with one out, Rio Ruiz homered to right, his ninth, and the scored was tied.

Ryan Thompson replaced Richards and, after he struck out Austin Hays, Pat Valaika and Cedric Mullins singled, and Stewart doubled to right, scoring Valaika and Mullins and giving the Orioles a 6-4 lead.

Zimmermann had plenty of family and friends watching but, because there were no fans, they had to watch on television. Their absence decreased his nervousness.

“It’s definitely a different atmosphere,” he said. “The adrenaline’s still there, but it definitely subsided in the second, third inning. It’s still amazing to be on a big league mound and be a big league pitcher and everything.

“I felt a little different without the fans there, but it’s hopefully something to look forward to in 2021 where hopefully myself, Dean, and a couple of other guys who made their debuts this year, Akin, would kind of get a debut 2.0 in 2021 where hopefully we will have our family and friends in the stands.”

After Nate Lowe singled to begin the Tampa Bay fourth, manager Brandon Hyde pulled Zimmermann, and Travis Lakins got two outs before Joey Wendle launched his third home run of the season to right to tie the score, 6-6.

“You only get one debut, and it was pretty surreal overall,” Zimmermann said.

An ugly fifth: The fifth inning was an unsightly reminder of how far the Orioles are from being a contending team. Against one of the best teams in baseball, the Orioles allowed four runs.

“Not real good,” manager Brandon Hyde said.

The Orioles are a season-low, seven games below .500 at 22-29 and are 1-7 in doubleheader games this season.

Cole Sulser began the fifth of a 6-6 tie by walking Mike Brosseau, who stole second. Brosseau advanced to third on a throwing error by third baseman Ruiz on Willy Adames’ infield hit. Nate Lowe’s single gave Tampa Bay the go-ahead run.

Manuel Margot bunted to Dillon Tate, who relieved Sulser. Tate couldn’t make a play, and the bases were loaded. Kevan Smith’s swinging bunt was another that Tate couldn’t handle, and Adames scored.

“When Tate came in, he didn’t give up a ton of hard contact at all,” Hyde said. “I just didn’t think the ball bounced our way that inning.”

Wendle and Randy Arozarena hit sacrifice fly balls to left, and the Orioles were behind, 10-6.

“I don’t think we caught a whole lot of breaks,” Hyde said. “They made their own breaks by playing really good defense.”

Odds and ends: The Orioles were the visiting team because the game was made up because of the August 27th postponement at Tampa Bay … Mullins led off with a bunt single, his major league leading ninth … Alex Cobb will start against Tyler Glasnow on Friday night … Zimmermann is the 45th player used by the Orioles this season and is the first in club history to wear No. 85 … Evan Phillips, who struck out all four batters he faced as the 29th man, was returned to the Bowie alternate site after the game.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB



  1. Baltimore Castaway

    September 18, 2020 at 8:30 am

    Current take on some things related to the Orioles;

    – Akin and Kremer have been quite pleasant surprises this season–they could fit into a turnaround Rotation for the rebuild

    – After last night’s games the Orioles would be picking at #8 in next July’s Draft if the season ended yesterday–they need to be picking higher…

    – Elias & Company are doing a good job on this rebuild–my vote is incomplete because we haven’t seen what they are doing in the International Market. They are just getting started in this area but I do believe that they will be successful in this sector. If/When they are, it will put the team on a very sustainable footing moving forward

    – Have to wonder if Hyde is the sacrificial lamb here for this part of the journey, or whether he will be jettisoned for a more experienced Manager when they get better. This is what the Astros did, although that is more a reflection of that all-around swell fella Jeff Luhnow….not necessarily Mike Elias

    – I have no data on this but it does appear that their Organizational Structure of having Pitching and Hitting Czars from the Orioles down to the lowest level of the Minors is and will continue to pay off

    – Credit to John and Lou Angelos for have the fortitude to stick with their rebuilding Plan…wasn’t sure that they had the juice to do it..

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      September 18, 2020 at 9:53 am

      Dunno BC … “the O’s need to be drafting higher”? If that’s the case, let’s go ahead and send Akin, Kremer, Mountcastle and the like back to Bowie. No offense intended, but to hope for a higher draft slot is the thinking of a tanking, thus a losing organization. I don’t ever remember the Rays tanking. They may have had bad years but ….

      So here’s the deal. The real trick in the draft is to find quality players further down the draft order. I’m willing to forgive Elias for these 1st two years of misery he’s forced upon the faithful, but he and his team will not have proven their mettle until they can accomplish finding players without necessarily picking in the top 3 of a draft. Let’s play the game to win.

      I do agree that Elias & Company are doing a good job. So far …

      One last thing … John & Lou are prepping this team to be sold. Let’s not get too cozy with them.

      • Baltimore Castaway

        September 18, 2020 at 10:24 am


        -In all the time that Family has owned this team I have yet to find anyone that’s too cozy w those boys…
        -agree totally that they are readying the team for a sale—really hoping that Jim Davis is the buyer, not another tribesman from Wall Street.
        -realize that you despise the word tanking and you are absolutely correct about ultimately needing to be really great evaluators of talent. I believe that they are , am just looking for any edge possible in getting the best talent possible at this tender stage of the build.

        Stay well.

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          September 18, 2020 at 11:22 am

          All fair enough and well said. But I have no problem with picking #8, and if we go on a winning streak, I have no problem picking lower.

        • WorldlyView

          September 18, 2020 at 7:08 pm

          In any speculation about the team being sold, there is one vital variable that needs to be considered: how likely is it that the new ownership will keep the team in Baltimore? I have recurring nightmares about Indianapolis committing to building an MLB-class stadium. (Those of you old enough to have cherished the Colts will get the connection.)

          • Rich Dubroff

            September 18, 2020 at 7:33 pm

            Professor Cohen, I have tried to knock this down dozens of times in this space. The Orioles will not leave Baltimore. In the last 49 years, only one team has moved, and baseball doesn’t like franchise moves. The Athletics and Rays are in dire shape, stadium-wise, and could eventually be candidates to move, but MLB’s process to move is a long and cumbersome one.

            Teams move because their facilities are outmoded, and cities have built or promise to build new faciltiies. Charlotte, Portland, Las Vegas, Nashville and Montreal have been mentioned as expansion possibilities, but none have new stadiums or solidified plans to build them.

            MLB won’t let Camden Yards be without a team. That’s just absurd.

            The NFL allowed the Colts to move because they couldn’t stop them. Al Davis had gone to court to thwart the NFL from stopping the move of the Raiders from Oakland to Los Angeles and won, and as a result, they were paralyzed.

          • WorldlyView

            September 18, 2020 at 8:56 pm

            Mr. Duboff, The idea may be “absurd,” but it is far from impossible in the medium to long-term. Owning an MLB team in a place like San Antonio would be a license to print money, and every one and every business has a price. My nightmare is likely to continue despite your reassurance. Four decades later, I remain traumatized by the photos of those damn Mayflower moving vans leaving Owings Mills in the dark of night headed to Indianapolis–so be gentle with me. Could we compromise with “highly unlikely in the foreseeable future”?

          • Rich Dubroff

            September 18, 2020 at 11:23 pm

            Professor Cohen, the conventional wisdom in baseball in the 1980s and early 1990s was that Tampa Bay was a goldmine, and a license to pirnt money. San Antonio is a relatively small market. A lot can change in five or 10 years, but is an impossibility for me.

          • Boog Robinson Robinson

            September 19, 2020 at 8:43 am

            San Antonio is far from a small market. It has a larger population than Dallas.

          • Rich Dubroff

            September 19, 2020 at 9:21 am

            Right you are, Ken. San Antonio is the 31st largest market, larger than Kansas City, Cincinnati and Milwaukee. It’s not an area that’s ever been mentioned for an expansion franchise though I have heard chatter about Austin, which is 40th, but has no major league sports franchises.

  2. Orial

    September 18, 2020 at 8:48 am

    Interesting takes Castaway. I believe the O’s draft pick will be a combined 2019/2020 W/L record so it might be a little higher than 8(I may be wrong). Agree unfortunately for Hyde he won’t be around when the team is ready and that’s nothing against him–just the way it is. Rich that Tampa lineup,though not a household name amongst them,is awfully difficult to pitch to. Don’t swing at balls,foul off a million pitches,wait for “meatballs”(as Zimmerman found out). I wonder if plate discipline like that can be taught or is it a quality vetted out during a scouting/drafting process? What’s up Ruiz and these throwing errors? Speaking of plate discipline,scouting,and vetting–it looks like Tampa did all that prior to facing Valdez. Damn what a good organization they have. Too bad nobody in Fla cares.

    • Baltimore Castaway

      September 18, 2020 at 8:59 am

      Thanks Orial.

      The Rays are a remarkable Organization–and they keep doing it even though their GM’s are getting hired by more well-financed teams. They are my second favorite team in the game–even though they are a way better-run franchise that our hometown team..

  3. Bhoffman1

    September 18, 2020 at 9:19 am

    Philips strikes out all four batters he faced and he’s back down yet Sulser and Larkins who do not impress me stay. Also I’m not that impressed with Tate. He’s pitches a littler like Givens with less juice.

    • willmiranda

      September 18, 2020 at 2:41 pm

      I thought Rich’s final sentence, about Phillips, was the funniest line of the year, albeit in a very, very, dry way.

  4. Bancells Moustache

    September 18, 2020 at 9:42 am

    Zimmerman showed poise and did ok for being his first time on a Major League mound. Big league hitters will punish your mistakes. Let’s see where he goes from here. Sulser probably needs to move on at the close of the year. Just not getting it done. As for Castaways draft position talk, what’s wrong with 8? Is there a can’t miss, guaranteed superstar that’s a lock to go number 1? Hard to imagine, seeing as none of them will have played organized baseball in 2020 when it’s time to turn the pick in to the commissioner. Elias is paid very handsomely because he is known as a super scout. There’s no reason he can’t find a talented player at 8.

    • Bhoffman1

      September 18, 2020 at 9:46 am

      Nothing wrong with 8, remember there were 24 players drafted ahead of Mike Trout

      • Bancells Moustache

        September 18, 2020 at 10:14 am

        Francisco Lindor- 8th
        Madison Bumgarner-10th
        Max Scherzer- 11th
        Chris Sale- 13th
        Mike Mussina- 20th
        Christian Yelich- 23d
        Nolan Arenado-59th

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      September 18, 2020 at 10:00 am

      “Look, Bruce — these Big League hitters are gonna light you up like a pin ball machine for awhile — don’t worry about it. Be cocky and arrogant even when you’re getting beat. That’s the secret.”

      Paraphrasing the immortal Crash Davis of course.

      • Bancells Moustache

        September 18, 2020 at 10:03 am

        The man earned himself a spot in the ’21 rotation on the strength of the moustache alone.

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          September 18, 2020 at 11:25 am

          My gosh, if you photoshopped some longer hair and sideburns on that picture above, he’d be the very likeness of Flanagan!

          Gotta love that ‘Stache, It may not be Richie Bancells worthy, but he’s still a young man … give it time!

  5. BunkerFan

    September 18, 2020 at 11:03 am

    The O’s pen has taken it on the chin this summer. They have logged a ton of innings and sometimes in back to back games. And many of them are spending the first season in the Show. I wouldn’t give up on Sulser just yet. He seems to have been challenged by moving into pressured situations too quickly for his mental makeup to tolerate. Early in the season when pressed into service as closer (not the original plan) he got a save against the Rays. Then became closer. He just didn’t seem to be psychologically ready for that situation. His control went out the window. The way he pitched yesterday in game 2 shows just how far his confidence has dropped. The O’s may be good on the physical training of their players via all the trendy new electronic methods…but they need to do a lot more with the psychological game. That’s much more challenging. In order to get the best out of their players and give them the best opportunities for success the O’s need to improve significantly in that area.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      September 18, 2020 at 11:28 am

      Cole Sulser will be 31 before next season starts. And he just made it to the major leagues. That’s about all I need to know about him.

  6. mmcmillan1123

    September 18, 2020 at 12:07 pm

    Boog you took the words right out of my mouth. When I saw Zimmermann warming up in the bullpen I said to myself, “That’s looks like a young Mike Flanagan “. Let’s hope he has at least half the success that Mike did, God rest his soul. These Orioles are making me feel young again. I used to love rollercoasters when I was a kid.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      September 18, 2020 at 12:40 pm

      I’m just piggybacking a comment made yesterday by commenter Spwagner that he looked like McGregor or Flanagan. But that picture today just cements it.

  7. Orioles20

    September 18, 2020 at 12:52 pm

    Sulser needs to go. What more needs to be seen from him.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login or Register Here

Leave a Reply

To Top