Lopez comes up big as Orioles' starting rotation becomes clearer; Wells also pitches well - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Spring Training

Lopez comes up big as Orioles’ starting rotation becomes clearer; Wells also pitches well

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

What’s happening? – John Means will start for the final time before Opening Day against the Atlanta Braves at 6:05 p.m. on Saturday at CoolToday Park in North Port, Florida.

Means, who will be opposed by Atlanta’s Max Fried, has a 5.87 ERA in five starts.

Wade LeBlanc, who opted out of his minor league contract on Thursday and was released by the Orioles, has been re-signed to a major league contract that pays him $700,000 if he’s in the majors and a lesser amount if he’s in the minors, according to Bob Nightengale, of USA Today.

Keegan Akin, who had 10.00 ERA in four spring games, was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk.

“I just thought Keegan needed a little bit more time,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “We still think really highly of him. Talking to him this afternoon, it was about getting a little sharper with his pitches. Command wasn’t quite there during this spring, [not] able to locate to both sides of the plate. I’d like to see an improvement in his offspeed stuff.

“It was a little bit of a scuffle this spring …j ust looking for him to go back down there and do what he did last year, and that was really find a nice rhythm in his delivery and attack the strike zone.”

Chris Davis, who batted twice in the team’s first exhibition game on February 28th, was placed on the 60-day injured list because of a strained lower back. The move cleared a place on the 40-man roster for LeBlanc.

Infielders Jahmai Jones and Richie Martin were optioned to Triple-A Norfolk. Left-handerdpitcher Fernando Abad and infielder/outfielder Chris Shaw were reassigned to Twin Lakes camp.

The Orioles have 36 players on their camp roster.

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Anthony Santander wasn’t in the lineup for the third straight day. Hyde didn’t say why Santander was out but said he took many at-bats on the back fields at the Ed Smith Stadium complex the last two days.

Hyde said he has not made decisions on the starters who will follow Means in the rotation.

“I think we have an idea,” Hyde said. “It’s definitely becoming more clear. We haven’t talked to the guys yet, so I’m not ready to announce anything at this point. I think in the next day or two, we’ll have our starters for the first series.”

When Means starts on April 1st against the Boston Red Sox, he’ll be opposed by Nathan Eovaldi, who allowed just four singles in 5 2/3 scoreless innings to the Orioles on Wednesday night. Originally, Eduardo Rodriguez was supposed to be the Red Sox starter.

Longtime Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy and outfielder Mike Devereaux were elected to the Orioles Hall of Fame. Joe Angel, who had three stints broadcasting the Orioles, was named the winner of the Herb Armstrong award for non-uniformed personnel and joins the Hall of Fame as well.

On August 7th, Hardy, Devereaux, Angel and superfan Mo Gaba, who died of cancer at age 14 last July, will be inducted in the Orioles’ Hall of Fame.

Single-game tickets for Orioles games in April and May, with the exception of Opening Day, will go on sale Wednesday at 10 a.m.

What happened? Jorge López pitched five scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and a walk, striking out three as the Orioles beat the New York Yankees, 4-1, at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa on Friday night.

López lowered his spring ERA to 2.75.

“I feel it was much stronger,” López said. “It was the best feeling, rhythm and timing I had all of spring training. I had everything working. Behind in the count, I had the curveball and a good sinker down, mixing in some good pitches.

“Their lineup is really tough, and I can’t miss anything on the plate. It was one of the best feelings for my body, my arm, everything.”

López said he won’t lobby for a place in the starting rotation.

“That’s one decision I don’t make, but I’ve been doing a good job with everything, building my innings, building my strength. I just go out there and do my best. They know what I can bring to the game.”

Rule 5 draft pick Tyler Wells improved his chances for making the team by throwing three hitless innings, walking one.

“I put him in a tough spot, going through the teeth of their order,” Hyde said. “Tyler’s got a good fastball. It’s 95, but it plays up, and he’s getting his four-seam by guys in the top of the zone. Love the way he landed his sliders. Flashed a curveball or two, which had really, really good shape.

“He came in here without fear, loved the poise on the mound, the presence on the mound.”

The Orioles scored three runs in the seventh. Austin Hays, who had a home run, triple and double in Thursday’s game, had an RBI single. Two runs scored on wild pitches by Aroldis Chapman.

Gray Fenter, who was chosen by the Chicago Cubs in the Rule 5 draft but returned to the Orioles, allowed a run in the ninth. Fenter gave up a hit, walked three and threw a wild pitch.

The Yankees had just three hits.

What’s up with? Adley Rutschman has impressed Hyde with his play this spring.

“In his first couple of games, I think he was overswinging, trying to do a little too much,” Hyde said. “I noticed the difference the last few games he’s played with us. His swing has calmed down. You saw him hit the double the other way [Thursday] night on a fastball away, staying on the baseball. Offensively, he’s got a lot of tools. He’s going to hit, hit with power.

“He was just trying a little too hard early on. Now, he’s settling in, taking a little bit better at-bats, a little bit more under control. Defensively, he was been extremely impressive in all aspects, receiving, blocking, his communication with the pitcher, his game-calling. The guy’s an elite throwing on top of it. He’s done a great job in the limited games he’s played with us.”

What’s the word? “Coming over to Baltimore, knowing that I was going to be managed under Frank Robinson, Hall of Famer, that was very special to me. The things that he had gone through in the game of baseball. He knew everything about the game and he was definitely somebody I could learn [from] about this game. It showed that first season.”-Mike Devereaux on playing for Frank Robinson in 1989.

What’s what? With Akin gone, LeBlanc re-signed and López’s outstanding outing on Friday night, the guess here for the Orioles’ starting rotation is Means, Dean Kremer, Matt Harvey, LeBlanc and López, with Bruce Zimmermann as a swing man.

What’s the number? 7. The Orioles have seven players on minor league contracts among the 36 players remaining in camp. They’re right-handed pitchers Thomas Eshelman, Conner Greene, Félix Hernández and Eric Hanhold, catchers Nick Ciuffo and Austin Wynns, and infielder/outfielder Stevie Wilkerson.

What’s the record? 10-14-1. The Orioles play the Atlanta Braves at 6:05 p.m. on Saturday in North Port, Florida. The game will be broadcast on 105.7 The Fan and the Orioles Radio Network.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

24 Comments

24 Comments

  1. CalsPals

    March 27, 2021 at 7:25 am

    Bragging about Rutschman just to send him down, Wilkerson, nice guy, why is he still up with the team, Hyde & coaches haven’t decided the rest of the rotation yet, kinda guessing they haven’t been told the rest of the rotation yet, love beating the Yankees, Lopez looked pretty sharp…go O’s…

  2. Bhoffman1

    March 27, 2021 at 7:56 am

    Why don’t we hear a word from Chris Davis. How does he look himself in the mirror everyday. Can someone tell me how he spends his days besides relaxing in the sun and counting his money

    • CalsPals

      March 27, 2021 at 8:11 am

      Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth…go O’s…

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      March 27, 2021 at 10:00 am

      Don’t blame Chris my friend. Can you honestly say that you would have walked away from that money had you been in his shoes?

      This is all on Peter Angelos, and if there IS any shame in the situation, it’s in the family’s refusal to eat the contract. Bush leauge.

    • Bhoffman1

      March 27, 2021 at 11:50 am

      I blame Chris for fake injuries. I’m 70 and strained my back playing tennis and was on the court two days later playing kids in their twenties. If his body is so destroyed that taking two at bats is going to give him a 60 day DH have some dignity and negotiate a buyout. He’s got enough money to live extremely comfortably the rest of his life.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        March 27, 2021 at 11:30 pm

        This is probably the teams will.

  3. Orial

    March 27, 2021 at 8:07 am

    Damn Keegan the rotation was yours for the taking. Sounds familiar right Rio? A great start by Lopez and the return of LeBlanc gives me a shot of confidence that this rotation may approach mediocrity instead of being abysmal after all. 6:05 game times is the new norm I guess. Rich saw a remote comment about Franco loafing to 1st base on ground balls Thurs night. This isn’t a part of his package that we’ll have to deal with is it?

  4. BrooksPJs

    March 27, 2021 at 8:58 am

    Rutschman’s has played 8 games this spring. During the first 4, his OPS was 0.830; the last four 0.727 – both pretty solid OPS numbers.

    But pretty sure Hyde had Rutschman and Severino mixed up when comparing 1st and 2nd halves of spring training – Severino had an OPS of 0.165 through 3/16 and 1.143 since then.

    • Bhoffman1

      March 27, 2021 at 9:08 am

      You should become Severinos agent. Ruthschman has all the tools to be a superstar anything less will be a disappointment. Severino is out of baseball in a few years at best

      • BrooksPJs

        March 27, 2021 at 9:42 am

        Severino will be 27 this season and has had just below league average OPS the last two seasons. He also has positive defensive stats. A) I would love to be his agent! B) I am agreeable to a gentleman’s wager that Severino will be out of baseball in a few years…

        I like Rutschman too and hope he has a long, successful career with the Orioles!

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          March 27, 2021 at 10:07 am

          If you can catch a major league curve ball, you can play a long time. Case in point … Caleb Joseph is 34 y/o, and according to PJS’s bible … baseball-reference.com … he’s still with the Mets.

          I agree that Severino has quite a few more years playing ball. Just hopefully, not with the O’s.

  5. willmiranda

    March 27, 2021 at 10:16 am

    I don’t like to get into the weeds with stats, but it seems required in a discussion about catchers. I just note that all runs scored as the result, direct or indirect, of a catcher’s errors or passed balls are considered unearned. Thus, a really bad catcher can actually lower a pitcher’s ERA and make the catcher appear defensively superior. This is probably an unintended consequence, but interesting nevertheless.

    • BrooksPJs

      March 27, 2021 at 11:13 am

      Okay, as a stats geek I had to check your theory out. I used 2019 stats – individual catcher ERAs, errors committed, and PBs and ran a linear regression. Regression formula was:

      Catcher’s ERA = 4.52 – 0.39*errors made by catcher per 9 innings + 0.05*PBs made by catcher per 9 innings

      A catcher’s ERA generally decreases when he makes an error and the -0.39 error coefficient is statistically significant at 90% confidence level. The 0.05 PB coefficient isn’t statistically significant.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        March 27, 2021 at 11:25 am

        Do you do taxes?

    • CalsPals

      March 27, 2021 at 11:28 am

      Got it, clear as mud…lol…go O’s…

  6. dlgruber1

    March 27, 2021 at 2:21 pm

    Every time I see a mention of the O’s Hall of Fame, I get reminded of the fact that Andy Etchebarren isn’t in it. To me that is a terrible injustice. He played 12 seasons in Baltimore, was on 2 WS winning teams, made the All-Star team twice and is the ONLY non pitcher from the 1970 WS winning team not in the O’s Hall of Fame. That’s just not right, especially when you see some of the players that are inducted. Having said that, congratulations to JJ Hardy, Mike Devereaux and Joe Angel.

    • CalsPals

      March 27, 2021 at 2:52 pm

      Does seem odd, echo your congrats…go O’s…

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      March 27, 2021 at 3:49 pm

      Good sound out for Etchebarren DL.

      I don’t put much stock in the O’s HOF. When you see guys like Roberto Alomar (and others) in it with only 3 years in town, the whole thing is devalued IMO.

      • Birdman

        March 27, 2021 at 4:57 pm

        Agreed … as we know, the days of a player spending his entire career on the same team are long gone, but only 3 years on the team to make the O’s Hall of Fame doesn’t seem right … why not also induct Reggie Jackson, based on his one season with the Orioles?

        • VICTORTEE

          March 27, 2021 at 7:08 pm

          Not signing Reggie to a long term contract was Hank Peter’s biggest mistake. The O’s teams of the late 70’s were really good every year but (other than in 1979) the Yankees were a little better. The Yanks had Reggie in the OF. The O’s replacement for Reggie was the “immortal Pat Kelly”. Hank’s cheapness probably cost the O’s 2 or 3 pennants.

          • Birdman

            March 27, 2021 at 7:27 pm

            And Reggie’s contract with the Yankees was 5 years for $3.5 million!

          • Boog Robinson Robinson

            March 27, 2021 at 11:31 pm

            Reggie didn’t ever want to play in Baltimore.

    • CalsPals

      March 28, 2021 at 7:21 am

      Not enough bright lights…go O’s…

  7. mlbbirdfan

    March 27, 2021 at 7:31 pm

    Yolmer GONE. Excellent

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