Bullpen can't hold Means' lead; Mancini leads majors in RBIs; Elias on team-building - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Bullpen can’t hold Means’ lead; Mancini leads majors in RBIs; Elias on team-building

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

BALTIMORE—John Means looked as if he was heading to his fifth win without a loss this season. However, the Orioles’ bullpen coughed up a three-run lead, allowing five runs in a 9-7 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays before 6,581 at Oriole Park on Wednesday night.

Means, who hadn’t pitched in eight days, left with a 6-3 lead with one out in the seventh, but Tampa Bay (25-19) tagged Adam Plutko. A single by Ji-Man Choi scored Kevin Kiermaier, a fourth run against Means. Randy Arozarena’s second home run of the game, a two-run shot, tied the score at 6.

Paul Fry, who entered the game with a 1.17 ERA, had an awful eighth inning when the Rays scored three to take a 9-6 lead.

“It’s really tough,” Trey Mancini said. “Every time you have a big run with Meansy on the mound, you’re feeling really good, but you’ve got to give credit to the Rays. They put some good at-bats together and got back into the game.”

With one out, Fry (0-1) walked Willy Adames and struck out Mike Zunino. Kiermaier singled to score Adames with the go-ahead run. Fry’s wild pitch allowed Kiermaier to come home, and Arozarena’s double brought home Choi.

“We used the guys that we’ve been using with a lead for the most part,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “An off-night for Plutko and Paul Fry.”

Hyde thought he was going to get a win for Means.

“This one does sting, no doubt,” Hyde said. “Fry hadn’t given up in run since May 2nd and had four straight scoreless outings.

“It just wasn’t meant to be late in the game.”

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Ryan Thompson (3-2) pitched a scoreless seventh for the win.

The Orioles (17-25) have lost nine of 11 since Means’ no-hitter in Seattle on May 5th. They’ve yet to win a series at home. In seven series, they’ve lost six and split one.

Means was staked to a 5-0 lead in the second. Mancini hit his eighth home run of the season with two outs in the first. Freddy Galvis led off the second with his fifth home run, and the 100th of his career.

Mancini’s bases-loaded double against Ryan Yarbrough gave the Orioles a five-run lead.

Means allowed two singles through four innings, but walked Zunino, his first walk in three games, with one out in the fifth. Mike Brosseau hit a two-run home run, his fourth homer in 11 career at-bats. Arozarena followed with his fifth, and the Orioles’ lead was cut to 5-3.

“My fastball command wasn’t great tonight,” Means said. “That was the biggest problem, I think, just with everything, was fastball command. especially inside. I wasn’t able to get in there and, when I did, I missed by a couple of inches. I struggled with that, and that opens up everything else.”

Mancini led off the fifth with his second home run of the game, and the Orioles had a 6-3 lead. His five-RBI game equaled his career high, and he leads the majors with 38 RBIs in 42 games.

“If you told me a year ago, I’d be pretty pleased to hear that,” Mancini said.

Mancini missed the 2020 season after colon cancer surgery and chemotherapy.

“I do reflect a lot on last year,” Mancini said. “As much as you try to move on, it’s hard to not look back and say, ‘a year ago today, I was going in for this cycle of treatments. I’d be a three or four right now. Definitely happier to be here in 2021 playing baseball, and it’s something I definitely don’t take for granted.”

After Means struck out Zunino and Kiermaier doubled, Hyde removed Means, who allowed four runs on six hits in 6 1/3 innings.

“He was a bulldog again tonight,” Hyde said. “This is a hot team right now. They’re beating us for homers. He gave up a couple, but he left with a lead, and we didn’t hold it for him.”

Pedro Severino’s RBI single against Pete Fairbanks in the ninth cut the Orioles’ deficit to 9-7. Fairbanks retired Maikel Franco on a fielder’s choice to end the game, and he recorded his first save.

Elias on building stars:  In his Wednesday video conference, executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias said he’s happy to see the team build with young stars.

“This is a big reason why we availed all these players of playing time and why we did so in 2019 rather than bring people in that might block some of our interesting players,” Elias said.

“We wanted to let a John Means pitch or let an Austin Hays or a Cedric Mullins get their at-bats and figure it out. In some cases it works, and in some cases it doesn’t. This is what you do when you turn towards your young talent internally.

“Getting successful in the major leagues often takes a lot of time. Not everyone is a superstar from the moment they get out there all the way through the minors and as soon as they play as rookies. These are some of the benefits of the process of where they’re going that we have players on our watch that have blossomed.

“We got these players under contract for many seasons. We plan internally, and we’re absolutely starting to see players that we project to be  playoff-caliber starters for the Orioles, and we want to keep those guys going, and you want to build around them and add to them.”

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

26 Comments

26 Comments

  1. CalsPals

    May 20, 2021 at 7:22 am

    From experience, every loss should sting, you move on, learn what you can from it, if it doesn’t, that’s the climate you’ve allowed to permeate the team, it’s a fine line, still think Hyde is looking for it…many more issues on this squad…leave it at that…go O’s…

  2. Bhoffman1

    May 20, 2021 at 7:24 am

    Adding to them would be nice. As for Plutko having a off night I recall a few days ago he had a off start night too. I got to see the game last night and he was throwing batting practice mediocre fastballs right down the middle. As for CD why does Elias embarrass himself and the fan base by saying we expect a fully heathy Davis in 2022. Let’s see how hard Davis works at his rehab to show the world he doesn’t want to end his career this way. I’m writing this holding back the laughs. As for Mancini I know from family who had same operation how hard it is to come back from that surgery plus he had chemo. This man is a true inspiration for all of baseball and if Elias is truly the boy genius he will sign him long term to lead his club into a playoff team that he speaks about.

    • Orioleschatter

      May 20, 2021 at 8:44 am

      Davis is toast. Cut bait. Definitely the worst contract ever for the team.

      • Birdman

        May 20, 2021 at 8:49 am

        Not just the worst contract ever for the Orioles … maybe the worst contract ever in MLB history.

        • In The Triangle

          May 20, 2021 at 9:37 am

          What was that Rockies pitcher’s name? Mike Hampton, I think. That’s the only contract that come close.

  3. Ekim

    May 20, 2021 at 7:37 am

    Don’t be looking South immediately for pitching help. Lowther got rocked for the second time in a row since being sent down after Hyde let him get destroyed in his first ML start. I posted a comment at that time saying I felt not getting him out of there earlier on had the strong potential of ruining his confidence… and it appears I was right. Now all we can do is see how long it takes to get him back up to speed. In a way I think a pitcher coming back from a physical injury has a better chance of recovering than one who’s mind has been injured. Just saying…

    • 900E-33rdSt

      May 20, 2021 at 7:59 am

      Does a start on 5/14 of 4.1 IP 3 H 3 BB 2 ER really qualify as being rocked? Guess so if you want to go with the “it appears I was right” shtick…

      • Orial

        May 20, 2021 at 8:34 am

        5 runs in 2.1 innings last night does look like a good ol rocking to me.

    • jimcarter

      May 20, 2021 at 8:07 am

      …or….maybe he just doesn’t have the talent. Young pitchers and hitters face disappointment many times (see Seattle’s phenoms). If they really have potential, they’ll rise above adversity. Most minor leaguers NEVER make it (see the so called “cavalry” of years past). Always blaming someone else for your problems is a sign of weakness and a character flaw.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      May 20, 2021 at 11:58 am

      Yeah, I don’t buy all this ruining of confidence stuff. I’m sure there are cases where it might be true, but I think it’s overblown. If a player can really play the game, being sent down isn’t going to stop them. If confidence is the problem, then maybe he just didn’t have the overall makeup to make it as a big leaguer to start with.

    • CalsPals

      May 20, 2021 at 1:18 pm

      If their confidence got ruined over that they shouldn’t be a professional athlete…go O’s…

  4. Shamus

    May 20, 2021 at 8:01 am

    See all you GM wannabes ? It’s a process. Also do not forget the lost COVID 19 season.

    • CalsPals

      May 20, 2021 at 9:05 pm

      The same season lost by every team…go O’s…

  5. Orioles20

    May 20, 2021 at 8:15 am

    I don’t get pulling Means. He’s on extra rest and was at ninety seven pitches. You let your ace pitch through the jam. Plutko seems to be getting burnt out. I don’t understand why Hyde let Paul Fry throw thirty one pitches. He’s not used to throwing that many pitches. Good to see Mancini breaking out. As far as team building the orioles have never rebuilt properly. Tearing it down to build it up. Elias and company are actually developing talent. Name one player that duquette and co actually drafted and developed. Guys like Mullins and Hays have been doing exactly what they are orioles want them do play everyday and see how far they can go. In my opinion they’re doing fine. The infield is where the problem is. Second base is a complete hole. Wilkerson and Vialika are not supposed to be playing every day. There utility players. Galvis has been admirable at shortstop and Franco is a guy you have to take the lows with the highs.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      May 20, 2021 at 8:56 am

      Ummmmm … I believe that Mullins and Hays were both drafted by Duquette.

      • Orioles20

        May 20, 2021 at 9:32 am

        Ok but they were not fully developed by Duquette. Mullins was brought up and did ok then struggled and Elias had to to fix it by sending him to a hitting class. He wanted to abandon switch hitting then and they didn’t let him. They rushed Hays to the big leagues after one good minor league season. He’s just now figuring it out because Elias is playing him and working with him.

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          May 20, 2021 at 12:03 pm

          Yeah, let’s give Elias all the credit for these guys success. I believe the reason they’re succeeding is because they are good ball players to begin with. They’re getting time and at bats. It’s not because the new regime has some magic process to transform them.

          Riddle me this … why can’t they fix Sisco? The difference between he and Hays/Mullins is continued and regular at bats IMO.

    • CalsPals

      May 20, 2021 at 11:12 am

      I like the way Mikey is getting credit for working with him, Mikey works with no one, watches & sometimes makes decisions on the roster…can’t wait til something better comes along for him, he’s gone, just not sure who would want him…go O’s…

  6. Orial

    May 20, 2021 at 8:24 am

    I would rate this game as the worst loss so far this season. But yes we have to begrudgingly move on. Yes there is not much pitching help at Norfolk. One constant in Hyde’s tenure I’ve noticed–his reliance on his relief Corp will always eventually bite him in the butt as they all tend to sour as the season goes on. Case in point–Plutko/Fry his 2 best are now laying their eggs. It happens,it’s not Hyde’s fault. All you can do is hope that it’s just a blip and they’ll return to form. Hats off to Mancini,what a performance,what a year. I owe Trey a big apology after stating foolishly last week that Galvis has surpassed him in the pecking order(not one of my finer moments)

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      May 20, 2021 at 12:07 pm

      I believe we’ve already witnessed Bluto returning to form. There’s a reason the Indians let him go.

  7. willmiranda

    May 20, 2021 at 10:10 am

    Interesting, to me at least, that Mountcastle was not among the young stars. Or does Elias consider him among the cases that don’t work?

  8. Balt mp

    May 20, 2021 at 10:16 am

    Another Hyde or Freddie Gonzalez loss . Why are you using Tanner Scott for 1/3 of an inning . A guy with a 96-98 fastball and a nasty slider and you use him for a third . You’ve overused Plutko already if I need an out I’m going to Scott with his superior stuff .

    If you want to know what was the issue with Duquette era and the Oriole organization as a whole for 30 years here are two names Bundy and Gausman . Bundy was a choice driven by the media and the scouts failed to detect his over use in travel ball and high school . Gausmen was again rushed to fill a bullpen void . The organization never made him develope an off speed pitch they Yo-yo’d up and down to AAA and now he is leading Giants to a division lead . Failure to invest in scouting and development has torched this organization for 30 years . Looking at the lower minors A ball and below it appears that SO FAR they have drafted well and are developing players I think Elias is on track if left alone and properly funded .

  9. Massmonster

    May 20, 2021 at 10:33 am

    How did resting Means. Extra 3 days work out.The bullpen pitched 21! Innings in last 3 games and was toast and it showed.Means was not any stronger by any means.Sort of like throwing the rest of the team under the bus to rest a rested starter!!!

    • CalsPals

      May 20, 2021 at 11:15 am

      My earlier words exactly & the worst part is his value may have dropped, if he’s so valuable trade him for wander Franco…go O’s…

    • Massmonster

      May 20, 2021 at 1:13 pm

      They did a disservice to Means also. Any Ace will testify to the importance of taking his regular turn in the rotation

    • CalsPals

      May 20, 2021 at 1:20 pm

      Agree, “skipping” his start vs the Yankees just doesn’t look right…go O’s…

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