Orioles swept in doubleheader; Zimmermann allows 2 home runs; Offense gets just 3 hits - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Orioles swept in doubleheader; Zimmermann allows 2 home runs; Offense gets just 3 hits

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

BALTIMORE—The first Orioles homestand of the season is over. It’s one they’d like to forget.

They lost six of seven games, including both ends of a doubleheader to the Seattle Mariners on Thursday. They scored just three runs in the two games, wasting solid starting pitching from Matt Harvey in Game 1 and Bruce Zimmermann in Game 2.

Zimmermann allowed two solo home runs, and the Orioles lost, 2-1, to the Mariners before 5,060 at Oriole Park. Seattle beat the Orioles, 4-2, in the first game, scoring all four runs in innings fix and six.

Zimmermann gave up a home run to Dylan Moore to begin the third. Mitch Haniger hit the game winner on a changeup in the middle of plate with two outs in the fifth.

“I didn’t have my best command and I was still able to battle through five innings,” said Zimmermann, who threw 40 balls in 87 pitches. “I wish I had a couple of pitches back that found their way over the fence. For the most part, even though I’m not happy with how I pitched, I am with battling and give my team a chance.”

Zimmermann allowed two runs on six hits in five innings, walking three and striking out two. He had gone six innings in his previous two starts.

“Without his best stuff today,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “That being said, he goes five innings and gives up two runs and gives us a chance to win. That shows you what kind of pitcher he is, and what kind of pitcher he’s going to be.

“That’s outstanding the way he’s pitching, the way he’s keeping us in games. I love his pitch mix. I didn’t think he was as sharp today as he was the last couple of starts. That being said, two runs given up. You’re going to win more games than not when that happens.”

In the 14 innings of play on Thursday, the Orioles had just three runs on seven hits. They’re 5-8 after starting the season 3-0.

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Zimmermann said the team’s lack of offense doesn’t put more pressure on him.

“That’s the last thing I want to do,” he said. “That’s the last thing any pitcher really wants to do when that’s happening. My job is to go out there and make pitches and get us back in the dugout, three runs or less in six innings. That’s what I’m trying to do each time.

“We’ll get going. We’ve seen spurts of it so far. Guys are starting to swing it a lot better. I’ll take care of my job, and those guys will take care of theirs. We’ll sync up, and we’ll win some ballgames here. Right now, my job is to pitch and give my team a chance to win.”

The Orioles began the season with a three-game sweep in Boston, lost two of three to the New York Yankees and came home and lost three straight to the Red Sox.

After a rainout on Monday, the Orioles and Mariners split a doubleheader on Tuesday. Another rainout on Wednesday forced a doubleheader that began at 12:35 p.m. on Thursday.

Justin Dunn, who allowed eight walks in 4 1/3 innings in his first start, allowed two in five-plus innings against the Orioles.

Freddy Galvis’ home run leading off the third was their only run against him. Anthony Santander walked in the first with two outs; DJ Stewart singled in the third, again with two outs; and Trey Mancini was hit by a pitch to begin the fourth.

“I thought we were too aggressive on him,” Hyde said. “It would be nice to grind out at-bats against him, especially on doubleheader days.”

Dunn was replaced by Will Vest after a leadoff walk to Stewart in the sixth. Santander lined to Vest, who threw to second to double up Stewart, who had advanced on a passed ball. Mancini grounded to second, then slammed his helmet down after the third out was recorded. Hyde noted Mancini’s frustration after Tuesday’s doubleheader when he went hitless.

In the seventh, Kenyan Middleton retired Maikel Franco on at-bat that typified the Orioles’ lack plate discipline. On a 3-0 count, Franco swung at a high fastball and grounded out to short. Ryan Mountcastle made the second out on a fly ball to right before Rio Ruiz ended an 0-for-16 skid by hitting a ground ball to the left side of the infield where no one was playing. Galvis tapped out to Middleton to end the game.

Hyde tried to remain optimistic.

“We’ve had some guys with tough luck, to be honest with you,” he said. “Franco is swinging the bat better than his numbers have shown. It’s been nice to see Trey swing the bat like he did in that first game. I feel like he’s taking better at-bats now. Santander, I don’t worry about him, he’s going to get hot at some point soon. DJ Stewart drew a walk late.

“I do believe that believe our offense is a lot better than we’re swinging the bat right now. We are going to turn it around.”

Zimmermann doesn’t think the pair of doubleheaders affected the team.

“I don’t think there’s any frustration in the clubhouse right now,” he said. “It’s the beginning of a very long season. Some guys are getting going, other guys are finding their way, and it’s just about getting that chemistry in the clubhouse that I think is coming along.

“I don’t think there’s anybody pressing too much with how it’s going. That’s the beauty of the baseball season. It’s 162 games. We’ve got a long way to go. We’ve seen some positives for sure. It was a tough schedule this past week, on any team. Moving forward, I think the guys are ready to get on a roll and start swinging it.”

Notes: The Orioles returned Cole Sulser, who was the 27th man in the doubleheader, to the alternate training site at Bowie. Sulser threw a scoreless seventh inning in the second game. … The Orioles are 2-10 in doubleheaders since the beginning of the 2020 season when the seven-inning doubleheader was instituted. … The unusual schedule continues next week. After three games in Texas, the Orioles are off Monday, play Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon in Miami, and are off again on April 22nd before beginning a homestand with Oakland on April 23rd.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Ekim

    April 15, 2021 at 7:12 pm

    Does the word “inept” describe the O’s offense? If not, what other word would you use in place of it? Pathetic could also be used… just saying…

  2. LonelyUnlovedDudeOfNoIntegrity

    April 15, 2021 at 7:45 pm

    Struggling? Slumping?

  3. Orial

    April 15, 2021 at 7:55 pm

    The Mariners, of all teams, out-homered the O’s and usually when they had men on. Nunez,Alberto,Iglesias replaced by Franco,Galvis,Urias. Lateral or downward–I don’t know. But certainly not trending upward. Gotta give kudos to Zimmerman,Means,Harvey–they gut it out. Bullpen coming in constantly with a 1 run lead or trailing 1 run. Too much pressure on the staff. Mancini trying to regain his strenghth/stamina/skill set,Mountcastle fighting inexperience,and Santander–have no idea what his problem is. Every time ya complain people say “oh it’s a rebuild-what do you expect?” I expect incremental progress. This bad plate discipline is getting real bad and been going on for too long. By Sept. we should have a better feel for how this organization is progressing as the Minor League teams will have a few months under their belts. If by then Rutcshman,Diaz,Henderson,Hall,Rodriguez etc are struggling we’ll have additional worries. That’s where are marbles are–AAA,AA teams. Well that’s my mouthful. Now let’s get back on the road where at least they’re competitive.

    • LonelyUnlovedDudeOfNoIntegrity

      April 15, 2021 at 8:10 pm

      Orioles were 30th last year in plate discipline in 2020 but are 22nd so far this season. Neither too good, but slight improvement. They dropped from 15th to 25th in contact from 2020 to 2021, meaning more swings and misses.

      • Orial

        April 15, 2021 at 8:45 pm

        That’s some hard data to decipher. They’re more disciplined than last year? Did they swing at more bad pitches last year but swinging at good pitches this year but missing them? This team is either an analytic guy’s nightmare job or dream job(the ultimate challange). I guess my gripe is couldn’t Elias at least find fringe players who have a clue at the plate? Are they overmatched through lack of talent or their own worst enemy by cutting at pitches out of the strike zone(probably a little bit if both).

    • CalsPals

      April 16, 2021 at 7:28 am

      HS kids know not to swing 3-0….go O’s…

    • Baltimore Castaway

      April 16, 2021 at 8:47 am

      Your observations are very accurate.

      Rebuilds are not for the faint-of-heart. The Starting Pitching of Means, Harvey and Zimmerman is impressive to see. The feckless hitting and lack of boom in their bats is uninspiring. Have to believe that Elias expected this.

      We have no choice but to watch and wait..

      Elias, Sig and Koby have to NAIL the next two drafts and International Signing Periods….the System still needs a LOT MORE impact talent.

  4. Icterus fan

    April 15, 2021 at 9:05 pm

    Today’s ORIOLES starting lineup:

    Batting first! Aging Retread

    Batting second! Waiver Wire Claim

    Batting third! Rule 5 Pick

    Batting fourth! Overpaid Underachiever

    Batting Fifth! Was Good Ten Years Ago

    Batting Sixth! Bounced Around in the Minors

    Batting Seventh! Theres a Reason He Was Cheap

    Batting Eighth! Only The O’s Gave Me a Shot

    Batting Ninth! Got Released By The Marlins

    Doing the pitching:
    Double A Promotion

    PLAY BALL!!!!!

  5. dlgruber1

    April 15, 2021 at 9:08 pm

    Right now, as frustrated as I am, as I’m sure we all are, i’m trying to find some positives and I gotta say, Sulser looked really good. He was totally in command out there today. That’s it, that’s all I got.

    • BarstoolSleeper

      April 15, 2021 at 9:38 pm

      Zimmerman is looking like our best starter thus far. Gutsy performance today. Gave up two solo shots but still put the Os in a position to win. Hitting or lack thereof let the team down.

    • dlgruber1

      April 15, 2021 at 9:53 pm

      BarstoolSleeper, forgive me for omitting him. Yes, he did his job. He and Means have kept the team in every game they’ve pitched so far and that’s all you can ask. Judging from the attendance the last two doubleheaders I wonder if there’s some confusion at the ticket office. Is it possible they’re only allowing one out of every four people that want to buy tickets to purchase them. I’m thinking they were told there would only be allowed 25% capacity this year and they’re thinking that means they can only sell tickets to one out of every four people.

  6. BirdfanVA

    April 15, 2021 at 11:12 pm

    Game 2, bottom of 7th.(last inning). Leadoff batter works a 3-0 count, then proceeds to swing away and ground out. Why didn’t Hyde give Franco the “take” sign? It’s not like Franco is another Pete Rose or Wade Boggs. I’ve been an Orioles fan since the early 70’s, and I’ve pulled for them through thick and thin. However, my patience is starting to wear thin. I don’t expect the O’s to make the playoffs this year, but I would like to see some incremental improvement as the seasons go by. It just seems like the Orioles are stuck in neutral, and can’t even find first gear.
    I’ve been patient as far as Hyde is concerned, because he has a Herculean task trying to make chicken salad out of the chicken doo he has been given. However, I’m getting sick of Hyde always seeing the glass as half-full when it comes to his players. If players aren’t hitting or pitching well, call them out in the press occasionally, and hold them accountable. These players are grown men being paid very well to play a game.

    • CalsPals

      April 16, 2021 at 7:32 am

      Totally agree…go O’s…

    • Bhoffman1

      April 16, 2021 at 8:17 am

      Exactly Hyde’s a nice guy wants to be a contemporary to his players but they need a disciplinary type guy and he may not be be the right one although Elias doesn’t care about winning this year

    • CalsPals

      April 16, 2021 at 9:35 am

      What did Crash say, (paraphrasing), “There kids, scarem “, maybe throw some bats in the shower, Franco, most RBI’s, but biggest “lollygagger”, lol…go O’s…

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