Orioles drop Mountcastle in batting order; No changes to pitching staff; Situational hitting - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Orioles drop Mountcastle in batting order; No changes to pitching staff; Situational hitting

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

BALTIMORE—Manager Brandon Hyde moved Ryan Mountcastle to sixth in the batting order for Monday night’s game against the Seattle Mariners. In his first nine games, Mountcastle is batting .184 with a home run and five RBIs. He leads the major leagues in strikeouts with 17.

Mountcastle has hit fourth in eight games, and third in another.

Third baseman Maikel Franco, who hit fourth in the game in which Mountcastle batted third, will be in the cleanup spot against Seattle.

“I’m just trying to take a little pressure off Ryan,” Hyde said. “He’s putting so much pressure on himself. I want to give Ryan a little bit of a breather, talked about it with him. I’m just trying to let him breathe through his at-bats. I see him really pressing.”

Hyde said that moving Mountcastle lower in the order isn’t related to his play in left field, where he has struggled.

“He’s still getting his work in defensively out there,” Hyde said. “He was out there working earlier today. This is about trying to help him out on the offensive side … let some guys hit in front of him. That’s all it is.”

No bullpen changes: In the weekend sweep by Boston, Hyde needed his bullpen to cover 13 innings. Only Bruce Zimmermann pitched six innings in the three games. That game went 10 innings. Matt Harvey went five in Thursday’s home opener, and Jorge López went four-plus on Sunday.

Hyde isn’t changing anything.

“There was some consideration, but we’re going to go with what we have tonight,” Hyde said. “I do feel comfortable that we have [Wade] LeBlanc that can go long … hoping that [starter] Dean Kremer can get us some innings tonight.”

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The Orioles have Keegan Akin, Isaac Mattson, Travis Lakins and Cole Sulser on the 40-man roster at the Bowie alternate site.

Sulser wouldn’t be eligible to return because he was optioned on April 5th. A pitcher must stay down after an option for 15 days, except if he’s replacing an injured player.

Bad bunt: Anthony Santander raised some eyebrows when he bunted with Trey Mancini on first and one out on Sunday.

“I don’t want Anthony Santander bunting with a 3-1 count and a runner on first base,” Hyde said. “Just like I didn’t want Cedric Mullins bunting with two strikes in New York.

“I like to give guys freedom. I think we’re pretty inexperienced in a lot of ways. Both of those were surprises. Our guys are going to learn from those. I think the bunt is definitely necessary at times. It’s going to be right in your face when now is the time when I’m going to lay one down.

“For Cedric, it’s a weapon. It’s part of his game. When you’re a left-handed at-bat like Santander or Chance Sisco or Rio Ruiz, it’s all about game situation and understanding where we are.

“If I’m Anthony Santander with a 3-1 count, I’m looking to drive the baseball. But if I do decide to lay a bunt down, and I only have one strike on me, it’s either going to be fair or foul, I’m not going to allow the pitcher to go over and get it. All these things, we’re still learning.”

Franco’s progress: Franco didn’t sign with the Orioles until March 16th, and he’s starting to feel more comfortable.

Franco hit his first home run with the Orioles on Sunday, a three-run shot that left the ballpark in a hurry. He’s hitting .229 with nine RBIs.

“It’s been a little bit difficult,” Franco said of his adjustment. “But now I’ve gotten used to that. I know everybody … I have some good friends.”

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

28 Comments

28 Comments

  1. CalsPals

    April 12, 2021 at 6:21 pm

    Bullpen has been so strong, totally get no changes/s…go O’s…

    • BrooksPJs

      April 12, 2021 at 6:40 pm

      Come on CP! Team ERA is 5.05, but bullpen ERA is 4.62. Armstrong is out of options unfortunately, so they can’t swap him out unless they expose him to a waiver claim – I hope I have that right. Fry, Plutko, Scott, and Valdez are off to decent starts so far. Tate and Wells off to fair to middling starts. That’s 6 out of 9 bullpen arms. Armstrong, LeBlanc, and Sceroler have ERAs over 7, but LeBlanc has had two good outings in a row. Come on CP! Keep the faith in the bullpen!

    • CalsPals

      April 12, 2021 at 6:56 pm

      Sad when a bullpen ERA of 4.62 is acceptable…totally my point…go O’s…

      • BrooksPJs

        April 12, 2021 at 7:03 pm

        Well CP you seem to be in the standard BB grumpy negative mood today. Orioles’ bullpen ERA without Armstrong is 3.42. MLB average ERA is 4.16.

        Plus the Orioles bullpen has +0.3 Wins Above Average rating so far this season, which means they are performing above average.

        But you go ahead and be grumpy…we’ve named our sour puss looking garden gnome CP in your honor.

    • CalsPals

      April 12, 2021 at 7:19 pm

      There you go again with obscure stats, 1/3 of a win gets you no where, closer to zero than one, liked it better when you were true to your word, done posting…go O’s…

      • BrooksPJs

        April 12, 2021 at 7:58 pm

        It’s not an obscure stat lol. And bullpen ERA w/o Armstrong is pretty damn good, so eh, go pound sand CP sour puss extremist

    • CalsPals

      April 12, 2021 at 8:21 pm

      Too bad we couldn’t just remove Armstrong’s ERA then, oh wait you can’t, be true to your word…go O’s…

  2. BrooksPJs

    April 12, 2021 at 7:13 pm

    On Kremer! On Mullins! On Franco!
    On Mountcastle! On Mancini! On Severino!

    On ground crew! On clear skies!

    Radar is not looking good though…

  3. DcOsfan

    April 12, 2021 at 9:32 pm

    Question for more learned among us than I – would lucroy be an upgrade over severino?

    • dlgruber1

      April 13, 2021 at 12:55 am

      I’d think he would be however, depending on his asking price, I don’t know. Let’s face it, that’s the bottom line now it appears.

      • Baltcf3

        April 13, 2021 at 10:45 am

        You can thank Chris Davis for that. Give Mr. Angelos credit also.

    • CalsPals

      April 13, 2021 at 7:38 am

      I thought he was playing with the Nats, did they release him?…go O’s…

    • CalsPals

      April 13, 2021 at 7:40 am

      Just saw he was DFA…go O’s…

  4. Orial

    April 13, 2021 at 8:05 am

    Mountcastle leads MLB in strikeouts. Ouch. Baseball wouldn’t be normal without an Oriole being the king of Ks. Until MiLB starts up this mish-mash of bullpen pitchers will have to do. It’ll be up to Hyde to pull the strings on where and how to use them. Let’s slow down on Armstrong a little bit–he and Scott were the 2 best arms out of last year’s bullpen. Give him some time.

    • Icterus fan

      April 13, 2021 at 9:44 am

      Agree that Armstrong needs more time. Has the bullpen really been the problem? Not entirely. Team ERA has been abysmal for years (5.2 ERA since 2016 (our last year with winning record). We knew starting staff was weak, so bloated ERA is to be expected.
      How about working on reducing running mistakes, throwing to wrong base, trying to bunt on bad counts, missing cut off man, swinging at first pitch, poor defense etc. Oh, and strikeouts, anyone?

    • CalsPals

      April 13, 2021 at 10:13 am

      Baseball IQ is pretty low for professionals…go O’s…

    • Baltcf3

      April 13, 2021 at 10:42 am

      Give Monty a year of playing regular and decide.

      • Hallbe62

        April 13, 2021 at 11:08 am

        Playing LF defensively isn’t going to do his confidence any good at the plate. For some players, especially the young ones, the 2 (feeling confident with the glove & the bat) go hand and hand.

  5. NormOs

    April 13, 2021 at 9:09 am

    So they move Ryan to 6, who’s going to bat 3rd, Moe, Larry or Curly? Would the pitching staff look better without Lopez, LeBlanc, and Armstrong? I think so!

  6. Balt mp

    April 13, 2021 at 10:03 am

    It took Hyde 9 games to figure out it’s not a good idea to bat a kid with a whopping 130 at bats fourth . Good managers like Weaver or Dave’s Johnson or even Buck excel at putting their players in positions where they excel. He lacks a feel for the game and his players .

    Santander bunting is an example of what plagues this team lack of discipline and a lack of baseball acumen . Hyde should have come out of his shoes when Santander came back to the dugout and when Rios and Urias decided to play defense like bad little leaguers .

    There is No excuse at tolerating this type of bush league play nobody has a big enough contract that they can’t be benched or sent down . You might be outmanned by better talent but it is a poor reflection on management when your out fundamentaled.

    • Shamus

      April 13, 2021 at 10:13 am

      No way you can compare the rosters of Weaver or Johnson teams to the rebuild team Hyde had to deal with. Also , check out how many games they won in Bucks final year… 47

    • CalsPals

      April 13, 2021 at 10:14 am

      Totally agree, again, a low baseball IQ…go O’s…

  7. Birdman

    April 13, 2021 at 11:22 am

    Like most things in life, you usually get what you pay for (not always, but usually) … easy to beat up on Hyde (and Elias), but when you have to operate with the lowest payroll in MLB, this is the kind of roster you get.

    • Icterus fan

      April 13, 2021 at 12:34 pm

      That’s right. And reminiscing about what Hank Bauer et al would have done just adds to the background noise.
      I’d like to see how these kids would relate to Weaver berating them, even if they did deserve it.

      Like it or not, most of them grew up in the “everyone gets a trophy, it’s all good” era with affirmation and praise heaped on them.

      Factor in that Hyde had Joe Madden as a managerial role model, and you may understand why he says such affirming things instead of a hard line old school approach of discipline.

      Gone are the days of Cal Sr saying “practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect”.

    • dlgruber1

      April 13, 2021 at 2:58 pm

      Icterus fan, that’s a great point about Hyde having Madden as a managerial role model. I know I’m in by the minority here but at the least Hyde should be given every opportunity to manage the club when Adley, Grayson, DL, Kjerstad?, Henderson and the rest arrive. IMO you can’t have a much better manager to learn under than Madden. I always find in rather humorous to see how all the “great”managers happen to have a lot of great players. Under Hyde right now I just want to see maximum effort and learn from your mistakes. I think, although there have been plenty of mistakes, it hasn’t been for lack of effort.

  8. Balt mp

    April 13, 2021 at 12:50 pm

    Look most of those late 70 early 80 Oriole teams were outmanned both in talent and payroll but they still won usually between 90-100 games why ? Because Earl Weaver would not accept players not knowing the fudementals example Earl Williams one year was enough and he was sent packing . Palmer talks about this all the time . If for example Urias and Rio through the ball around call up Bannon or Jones the Orioles are bad because they accept mediocrity it’s seeped in to become part of their mindset . You need a guy in that dugout that does not accept it and won’t accept it . Doesn’t mean Hyde can’t do it but he needs to be more stringent in his criticism.

    • Shamus

      April 13, 2021 at 1:38 pm

      How do you know Hyde isn’t doing that behind closed doors? There isn’t a manager today that will berate his players to the press or a Zoom conference

    • Shamus

      April 13, 2021 at 2:03 pm

      Earl Williams played here two years

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