Mountcastle produces biggest hit in Orioles' Opening Day win - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Mountcastle produces biggest hit in Orioles’ Opening Day win

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

BOSTON—Before Friday’s opener against the Red Sox, Orioles manager Brandon Hyde thought his designated hitter might be uneasy.

“We have Ryan Mountcastle, who’s never played in front of fans before in the big leagues,” Hyde said. “You try to remind them this is the same game they’ve played their entire lives on a little bit different stage, and it’s on TV.”

If Mountcastle was unnerved, he didn’t show it. After an impressive preview, in which he hit .333 in 35 games with five home runs and 23 RBIs, the 24-year-old, who’s still eligible for Rookie of the Year honors because he fell four at-bats short of the 130 at-bat maximum, is eager to prove last year wasn’t a fluke,

In 2020, a season in which fans weren’t allowed to attend games because of the pandemic, Mountcastle played left field in 23 games, was the first baseman in nine and the DH in two. This year, with Trey Mancini back after missing 2020 because of colon cancer surgery, Mountcastle might be the DH more often.

On Friday, his two-run, sixth-inning double gave the Orioles their first runs of 2021 on the way to a 3-0 Opening Day victory over the Red Sox before 4,452 fans. John Means, who allowed only one hit in seven standout innings, was the star. Trey Mancini, who had a walk and a hit in his first game back, was the feel-good story. But it was Mountcastle, whose double was kept in the park by Fenway’s Green Monster, who was the offensive hero.

“I thought he hit that ball out,” Hyde said. “To contribute the way he did and put a really nice swing to give us the lead and break the ice for us …

“Opening Day is special for everyone. When it’s your first one, it’s something you’ll remember for the rest of your life. When you produce the way he did, it was an incredible moment for him, and big for us.”

A lifelong Floridian, Mountcastle was looking forward to the first Opening Day game, even if it was 37 degrees at game time.

“Yeah, I haven’t played in weather like this much in my career,” Mountcastle said. “I’ve got to get used to it at some point, I guess.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Mountcastle had his stepfather, younger brother, girlfriend and her family for support. And even though he wasn’t able to socialize freely with them because of health and safety protocols, the restriction didn’t bother him.

“I’ve gone to big league spring training four or five times, and I’ve gotten sent down every time,” he said before the game. “The first time I get to break with the club, it’s definitely a surreal moment, something I’ll cherish for sure.”

Last year was a fun ride for Mountcastle. This year might be more difficult.

“They’re going to do their scouting reports and all that stuff,” Mountcastle said. “They’re going to try to do whatever they can to get me out. It’s up to me whether I want to adjust or not. That’s part of the game.”

Hyde is confident that Mountcastle will be up to the challenge.

“He is a threat when he swings the bat,” Hyde says. “He has a middle-of-the-field approach and understands how to stay on the baseball, which he does the majority of the time. He’s very, very dangerous because he’s athletic, he’s got great hands, he’s got huge power, and he’s going to have to make adjustments this year.

“I’ve seen a lot of good, young players come into the league and have two good months, and then it’s tough for a while. That’s absolutely normal. I don’t want to put too much pressure on him. I think he’s going to have ups and downs this year like most good, young players do. But I really believe in the ability, and I really believe in the upside, and I think he has a chance to be a good player in this league for a long time.”

Means, who retired the last 18 batters he faced after a leadoff hit by Kiké Hernández, is impressed.

“He’s a special talent,” Means said. “He’s got a great mentality for this game. I don’t think any moment is too big for him. He stays within himself. You’re going to be seeing this kid for a long time.”

Mountcastle has been talked about for a long time in the Orioles’ organization. From the time he was drafted as a shortstop in 2015, Mountcastle struggled to find a position. He was moved from short to third base, then to first base and left field. Last September he got to play in Fenway and played left field in front of the Green Monster.

“Anything over your head is off the Monster,” Mountcastle said. “You’ve got to play it off the wall. It almost feel like you’re in the shortstop’s back pocket playing out there because it’s so shallow, too. I wouldn’t say it’s too difficult, but it’s definitely different.”

He’s now comfortable in left, as he is with the chatter that he can win the American League’s Rookie of the Year award.

“I’ve just got to go out there and play my game,” he said. “If I do that, I think I have a pretty good shot at getting it. I’m not really going to press to win any awards.”

Hyde chose to put him in the cleanup position at designated hitter on Friday. Mountcastle didn’t let him down.

“He’s a young kid that’s played a month in the big leagues, and he’s hitting fourth in the American League East, and because he’s got poise, because he’s got confidence, this guy is going to be a really good hitter in this league,” Hyde said.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

52 Comments

52 Comments

  1. Orial

    April 3, 2021 at 7:56 am

    Mountcastle shows a lot of poise at this stage of his career. Beautiful,quick swing. Guarded optimism after an impressive opener. Maybe just maybe this lineup won’t be as strikeout prone as those in the past. As far as playing before live crowds yesterday’s broadcast sounded quieter than with last year’s with piped in sound. Suggestion to MASN and other broadcast companies–tune your mics up a little and pick up some sound. Kinda like watching the PGA. Hats off to Garceau/Palmer–niceopener. Keep it up O’s.

    • dlgruber1

      April 3, 2021 at 11:29 am

      I attribute the lack of noise from yesterday’s broadcast to the O’s, and Means in particular, giving the fans nothing to make noise about.

  2. CalsPals

    April 3, 2021 at 8:04 am

    Much better 4 hitter than severino, glad to see Sevy get two hits, enjoy them now, Rio looked very relaxed at 2B, but being an analytical guy, Hyde’s comment playing him against a righty pitcher didn’t make sense, #’s show he bats (uncharacteristically) better against lefty pitchers, Means look very good, here’s to a better 2021…go O’s…

    • BrooksPJs

      April 3, 2021 at 8:59 am

      Ruiz bats lefty which, as you allude to in your comment, generally gives him an advantage against right handed pitchers. Recent stats show that is the case for Ruiz.
      In 2019, Ruiz had a higher OPS vs. righties than lefties – 0.694 (vs R) vs.0.626 (vs L)
      In 2020, with 50% less PAs than 2019, Ruiz had a higher OPS vs. lefties than righties, but his OPS vs. righties was basically the same as it was in 2019 – 0.695 (v R) vs 0.781 (vs L)
      So over the past two seasons, encompassing 555 of his career 727 ABs (over 75% of his career ABs), Ruiz has a 0.694 OPS vs righties and a 0.682 OPS vs lefties
      In 2017, Ruiz’s splits were 0.517 OPS vs. righties with 159 PAs and 1.429 vs lefties with 14 PAs.

      There used to be someone on the BB comment board who would talk about things that skewed stats, can’t remember who that was…

    • CalsPals

      April 3, 2021 at 9:59 am

      Small samples do, wasn’t me…go O’s…

  3. Tileman

    April 3, 2021 at 8:10 am

    What a roller coaster of a day yesterday the Orioles win in spectacular fashion after perusing the box score I see the article about major-league baseball moving the All-Star game. As a diehard Orioles fan for 40 years I hate to say it but major league baseball and the Orioles are now dead to me

    • Orial

      April 3, 2021 at 8:51 am

      Get used to it–it’s only gonna get worse.

      • Tileman

        April 3, 2021 at 8:57 am

        Oh believe I am used to it. I know it’s going to get much much worse. For anyone who believes civil liberties are an American right should be very concerned over our state of affairs. America as we know it won’t exist 5 years from now. Even Biden said in his press conference “if the Republican Party still exists by then” was his answer when asked if he thinks if Trump will run again in 2024.
        Today is just baseball, 4 years from now it’s going to something more valuable.

    • BrooksPJs

      April 3, 2021 at 9:02 am

      I am with you Tileman, I can’t in good consciousness spend any more time or money on MLB. Was hoping baseball would be a great diversion this spring, but no.

      Alas, this is my last post here on BB.

      Best wishes to all!

    • VICTORTEE

      April 3, 2021 at 9:13 am

      SEE YA. MAGAT !

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        April 3, 2021 at 9:55 am

        That wasn’t necessary.

        You’ve always been a dolt on this site. And your posts have always been less than intelligent.

        • VICTORTEE

          April 4, 2021 at 8:25 am

          Go to heck to you and all the other M A G A T S . You are LOSERS like your fearless leader EX-President Chump.

    • Tileman

      April 3, 2021 at 9:28 am

      Typical liberal calling names SMDH

    • Codder

      April 3, 2021 at 10:18 am

      Hopefully go woke go broke

  4. Icterus fan

    April 3, 2021 at 9:01 am

    Mountcastle is one of our building blocks. Easy going attitude, and seems like a well grounded young man who realizes he’s fortunate to be a baseball player. I hope he stays healthy and productive for a long time.

  5. bobbymac824

    April 3, 2021 at 9:21 am

    Great recap Rich as usual! I loved Hyder’s comments on RM and loved the interview with him post game – as others have said, he surely has a good head on his shoulders. He has gone through a lot to get where he is but his offense will carry him with that mentality. John Means was too good yesterday in shirtsleeves and unhittable stuff (in 45 degree weather!). Let’s hope that this euphoria will embolden us through the dog days of summer facing so many superior teams. 161 to go!

  6. Bmore

    April 3, 2021 at 9:56 am

    What a great opening day with quality pitching clutch hitting and some great defense of plays go owes

  7. Hallbe62

    April 3, 2021 at 10:03 am

    This site needs some simple user controls softwared in. That will fix VICTORTEE. and those like him.

    I try to scroll past him quickly, but alas, the Marine in me rolls slowly backwards and reads his trash anyway

    • Icterus fan

      April 3, 2021 at 10:37 am

      Agree the site can use some engineering and interface improvements, but I’m enjoying a community about Orioles baseball.
      Take your politics somewhere else where you can complain endlessly and ultimately change nothing.
      The way to “fix” people on this site (if there is such a thing) is to ignore their rhetoric.

      • Hallbe62

        April 3, 2021 at 10:43 am

        I concur

      • Birdman

        April 3, 2021 at 12:12 pm

        Hallbe … As I noted on another thread, I agree with you that this site is better off without political commentary … that said, a little strange that you choose to single out VICTORTEE by name … look at this current thread (and each comment thread since yesterday), and you will see that on each and every thread, the political comments were initiated by several others on the other side of the debate, not VICTORTEE’s side.

    • Hallbe62

      April 3, 2021 at 1:13 pm

      Birdman
      Yes, Victortee did draw my ire first, but I also followed up with “and those like him”…….meaning both sides.

      Being linked to maggots because of affiliations, or a group of hillbilly coal miners fighting in W.V (Rednecks) for their very existence….Isn’t cool or acceptable to me. I don’t do it to others so I do not entertain myself with it.

    • DcOsfan

      April 3, 2021 at 2:21 pm

      The all star game should not be played in a state whose leadership is more interested in winning and dictating to its citizens than it is in insuring the right of its citizens to vote and I applaud the team and players association for supporting that stance. Go Os!

      • Codder

        April 3, 2021 at 2:40 pm

        I applaud the state of GA making sure ur vote counts by eliminating voter fraud. Shame on everybody and mlb for supporting voter fraud

    • DcOsfan

      April 3, 2021 at 3:07 pm

      As everyone who has studied this (Georgia Secretary of State, courts, etc. ) there was no voter fraud to eliminate. Pushing false narratives like that makes civil discussions harder.

  8. VegasOriole

    April 3, 2021 at 10:14 am

    Rio was playing out of his mind. Sevy took 2 hard pitches to the head. What a tough position. Hays and Mullins almost hit each other in center. So sad to hear about the All Star game, what a shame. Im conflicted

  9. Baltimore Castaway

    April 3, 2021 at 10:22 am

    Some Opening Day thoughts;

    – great performance by John Means–he has turned himself into a top-of-the-line Major League Starting Pitcher, and he did it through dedication to his craft and took it upon himself to become the pitcher he is today—major hats-off to you Sir

    – Mountcastle is one of those players who has been overshadowed so far. Don’t think it will remain that way much longer. This fellow is a real talent. Glad that he has found a position.

    – maybe the hillbilly trust-fund baby w the stupid hillbilly mullet will watch and learn from him…

    – Mancini is such strong contributor and Face of this Franchise

    – Brandon Hyde is a leader of men. This team likely won’t win too much but they play with heart and passion–good on you Skipper

    – Rob Manfred is a disgrace. This whole All Star Game political football brings a shameful reflection on what a true AssHat he is…MLB owners should also be a ashamed of themselves–oh–and God forbid if they ever spoke of bringing the ASG back to OPACY..

    – Don’t sleep on the Tampa Rays–they look like a team that is 2-3 years ahead of where the Orioles are heading…

    Wishing each of you a Blessed Easter Holiday.

    • Bman

      April 3, 2021 at 11:34 am

      Manfred and the players association should all resign in disgrace. Woke ignoramuses.

      • geevee3

        April 3, 2021 at 8:33 pm

        Because he’s not as smart as you?

        • Bman

          April 5, 2021 at 12:52 am

          I know right from wrong, and what happened in the GA election was 1000% wrong. A complete travesty of justice and truth. Everyone knows what happened in the presidential election and this is why they refuse to do any meaningful audits of the vote.

  10. Rob IsraOsFan

    April 3, 2021 at 11:12 am

    Great way to start off the season with a good team performance! And yes, I still stand behind one of my posts from early February indicating I am bullish for this year because I believe the starting pitchers will exceed expectations and a few players will have breakout seasons offensively.

    The optimist in me is still predicting 84 wins this season.

    1 down, 83 to go.

    • dlgruber1

      April 3, 2021 at 12:09 pm

      Rob I love your optimism but I’m just not seeing it if only because of how strong the division is. I think, like last year, the Yanks, Rays and Jays all make the post season. If the O’s weren’t playing over 1/3 of their games against those 3 teams then maybe I could agree but I’ll say this, I’d love nothing more than for you to be able to send a post at the end of the season saying “I told you so!”

    • Rob IsraOsFan

      April 3, 2021 at 5:42 pm

      Dave, deep down I realize you are totally correct, but I just want to believe that this team has what it takes to play decent ball and not have a losing record.

  11. Bhoffman1

    April 3, 2021 at 12:03 pm

    I didn’t see the game but Means must have had electric stuff. Baseball is not meant to be played in 37 degree weather. Mountcastle is breakout player of the year. Starting Severino two days in a row against RH pitching. I know Sisco stunk in spring training but he can’t be handled this way. They should trade him for whatever prospect they can get let Austin be backup catcher until Adley is ready

    • CalsPals

      April 3, 2021 at 12:23 pm

      Adley is ready, they’re not…go O’s…

    • Bhoffman1

      April 3, 2021 at 3:36 pm

      Agree he’s ready but winning scares Elias you don’t get too draft pick. He would be a superstar already if he was playing for San Diego

    • CalsPals

      April 3, 2021 at 4:14 pm

      Totally agree, especially with the inconsistency at catcher…go O’s…

  12. dlgruber1

    April 3, 2021 at 3:19 pm

    Not able to watch game but tracking it on my phone. Was Harvey injured on Martinez hit? I see Hyde pulled him right after.

    • Rich Dubroff

      April 3, 2021 at 3:40 pm

      He didn’t appear to be, but we’ll see after the game.

    • dlgruber1

      April 3, 2021 at 3:49 pm

      Thanks Rich, all I read was Martinez singles on hard hit ball deflected by Harvey and then I see he’s out of the game and I’m imagining the worst. I did see he was at 86 pitches tho so I was hoping that was why. As an aside, as much as I loved Buck I thought there were WAY too many times he left pitchers in after 4.2 innings with a lead just to try to get them thru 5 to earn the win only to see them lose the lead and many times eventually the game. I used to say the O’s lost as many games in the 5th inning as they did in the 9th.

      • Rich Dubroff

        April 3, 2021 at 4:45 pm

        I asked him, and he said it hit him on his thigh, and he wasn’t hurt. He wasn’t getting past 90 pitches, and he was right under that.

    • dlgruber1

      April 3, 2021 at 5:58 pm

      Thanks again Rich, really glad to hear that. Question for you, are you EVER not on the job? I, and I’m sure I can speak for everyone on this site, regardless of our political opinions (sorry) really appreciate the job you do. You’re the best.

    • Rich Dubroff

      April 3, 2021 at 6:39 pm

      As you will see, I will take a few days a month off during the regular season. I could do a 60-game season without a break, but not a 162-game one, Dave.

  13. Birdman

    April 3, 2021 at 3:43 pm

    Solid 86 pitch outing from Harvey, and outstanding debut by Plutko, whose acquisition was derided by several folks here.

  14. Rob IsraOsFan

    April 3, 2021 at 4:33 pm

    2 down, 82 to go 🙂

    Keep the faith my friends!!

    • DcOsfan

      April 3, 2021 at 4:42 pm

      2 games in and a 1.00 era. Go Os!

    • dlgruber1

      April 3, 2021 at 9:52 pm

      Your optimism is rubbing off on me. I got home in time to see 9th inning and I gotta say, in the past few years when the O’s held a slim lead in the 9th and the first 2 batters got on that was usually it for me, off went the tv. However, when Valdez hit the 1st guy and walked the next one, well, I felt a newfound confidence and really believed he’d get out of it and lo and behold he did! Valdez is on pace for a 162 save season! I won’t countdown like you have tho, it wasn’t my bold prediction.

    • Rob IsraOsFan

      April 4, 2021 at 3:59 am

      Awesome to hear, Dave!! Even if Valdez finishes with “only” 50 saves, I will also be more than satisfied with that 🙂

  15. geevee3

    April 4, 2021 at 12:55 am

    Orioles Magic, feel it happen!

    • dlgruber1

      April 4, 2021 at 5:05 am

      An oldie but a goodie!

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

Leave a Reply

To Top