Orioles' Hyde may look to Fry for late-inning relief; Hays out of lineup again; Single-game tickets go on sale - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Orioles’ Hyde may look to Fry for late-inning relief; Hays out of lineup again; Single-game tickets go on sale

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

The bullpen has become a major concern for the Orioles. After posting a 2.81 ERA in April, Oriole relievers have a 6.43 ERA in May.

Entering Tuesday night’s game with the Minnesota Twins at Target Field, manager Brandon Hyde said he isn’t sure who he will call on to close the game, should the Orioles need it.

On Monday night, with the Orioles leading 3-2, Tanner Scott, César Valdez and Tyler Wells combined to allow six runs in the eighth inning as the Orioles lost their seventh straight and the 14th in 16 games. Valdez has eight saves but has blown four chances and has an ERA of 3.93. That’s the same ERA as Scott. Both are struggling — Valdez is no longer fooling hitters with his offspeed pitches, and Scott can’t control his stuff.

For the moment, Paul Fry might be the choice. Fry recorded a save on April 7th at New York and blew one in the next day’s home opener.

“That’s a difficult one because we have so many guys who are having a tough few weeks,” Hyde said. “Paul Fry, right now, is pitching the best out of anybody. He’s been our most consistent reliever the past month.

“We had a ton of guys in April throwing the ball well, and I was comfortable throwing a lot of guys in high-leverage spots. The ninth inning is a different inning for me than the eighth or any other inning. With guys that have never done it before in our bullpen, and we’re not really pitching extremely well right now, it’s going to be a mixed bag.

“If I don’t use Paul Fry in a big spot in the seventh or the eighth, you could see him in the ninth, but we’ve got to get there. I’ll do the best I can. That’s the answer.”

Valdez, 36, has allowed six runs in 5 2/3 innings this month for a 9.53 ERA.

“He’s just had a tough couple of weeks,” Hyde said. “He was so good in April, so good in the last couple of weeks of the season last year. I just think you’re seeing the changeup hang in the strike zone longer than normal.

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“He’s aware of it … he’s frustrated. He talks about it. He’s trying to get back to what he was in April like a lot of our guys. Hopefully, he gets back there soon.”

Scott has been wild all season after appearing to finally gain command of his pitches last year. He has 17 walks in 18 1/3 innings. This month, he has a 5.87 ERA.

“He was so good in spring training, and so good to start the year,” Hyde said. “He was just letting it go and not worrying about mechanics, not worrying about anything except trying to throw the ball past the guy.”\

Early in the season, Scott was throwing around 100 mph. Now, he’s throwing around 95 mph.

“He’s thinking too much,” Hyde said. “He’s trying to place the ball. He’s trying to throw strikes instead of being an athlete and go after it and compete.

‘He’s been really successful the last couple of years when there’s traffic, and I bring him in in a big spot to get a hitter out. I can’t tell you how many times he’s punched that hitter out, and it’s really because it’s a sprint. He’s got one job. He’s there to just punch that guy out, When he has a longer outing, or when I send him back out, that’s the next step for him, to have that same mentality throughout an inning.”

Hyde would like to have Dillon Tate as a late-inning option, but he’s on the 10-day injured list because of a strained left hamstring. Tate begins a rehab assignment for Triple-A Norfolk on Tuesday.

“He is pitching tonight and see how that goes, and we’ll make a decision on if he needs another outing or two there or possibly bring him here,” Hyde said.

Hays update: Austin Hays is out of the starting lineup for the second straight game because of a tight left hamstring, but Hyde says he’s improving.

“He says his hamstring feels a little bit better,” Hyde said. “He’s out there testing it right now. Hopefully, he’ll be available off the bench right now, but we’ll see. He’s doing some conditioning things.”

Oriole Park: Camden Yards returns to full capacity on June 1st, and individual game tickets go on sale at noon on Wednesday.

For the first two months of the season, capacity had been restricted to 25 percent, and the team has drawn 175,231, an average of 7,965. That’s 21st in Major League Baseball.

Capacity limits vary in baseball. Two teams that have allowed full attendance, Texas and Atlanta, lead baseball. Boston, which sells out regularly, has an average attendance of just 5,753 because of reduced capacity.

Although the Orioles would like to get a bump from bigger crowds, it’s not likely. The team’s poor record and likelihood of a fifth consecutive losing season are factors, but there are external factors beyond the team’s control.

Many people, vaccinated or not, are not comfortable attending events with thousands of people. Others who couldn’t attend games last season because of the pandemic got out of the habit and found it just as satisfying to watch on television.

Ordinarily, single-game tickets go on sale before spring training. Some fans have already made plans for vacations and other activities, and budgeted their leisure-time money elsewhere.

There’s also the perception that it’s not safe, but that doesn’t stop the Ravens from drawing capacity crowds.

The Orioles’ home schedule doesn’t help. They’ve already had 10 home games with the Red Sox and Yankees, two traditionally large draws. The April 8 home opener with Boston and the May 14-16 series against New York were reduced capacity sellouts, and the Red Sox and Yankees don’t return until September.

Interleague opponents are often a good draw, but this season the Orioles play the National League East, and the Braves, Marlins, Mets and Nationals aren’t likely to generate an increase, though the July 23-25 series against Washington could draw a few thousand extra.

Many fans are getting their baseball fix by going to Aberdeen, Bowie and Delmarva to see Oriole prospects that they hope to see at Camden Yards in 2022 and beyond.

If the team becomes more competitive, it will be reflected in the attendance.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

30 Comments

30 Comments

  1. Phil770

    May 25, 2021 at 6:45 pm

    Thanks for the update. Three things to note about O’s attendance versus Ravens attendance 1) the Ravens play mainly in the daytime, the O’s mainly at night; 2) Ravens play once a week, vs. O’s several times a week; 3) big crowds can actually help safety to and from parking.

    New question – can you shed any light on Chris Holt situation? I thought he would be gone a few days; apparently the personal situation is more severe than expected. His absence is impacting pitching, which speaks to his value. If the outlook is unknown, then let’s share that, at least.

    • Rich Dubroff

      May 25, 2021 at 6:51 pm

      I’ve been asked by many people, Phil, and we’re being told only that it’s personal.

      • Phil770

        May 25, 2021 at 9:02 pm

        I appreciate that point, but is there a potential or hopeful return date? Don’t need to know why, that’s appropriate, just a sense of possible return, or even if he can talk to his staff while away.

    • Rich Dubroff

      May 25, 2021 at 9:38 pm

      Mike Elias says he’s been involved remotely.

  2. foodman

    May 25, 2021 at 7:07 pm

    Austin Hayes not in the lineup again because of an injury? What a shocker!!!

    • TPhoebus

      May 25, 2021 at 10:35 pm

      You must have been really disappointed when Hays started 28 games in a row this season…

  3. Boog Robinson Robinson

    May 25, 2021 at 7:35 pm

    “Others who couldn’t attend games last season because of the pandemic got out of the habit and found it just as satisfying to watch on television.”

    Is that true Rich? I can’t fathom how anybody can find it ‘just as satisfying”, to watch a game on TV. I don’t care how bad this team is, a bad day at the park, hands down, beats the snot out of a good day on the couch.

    A dog and a beer at home just isn’t the same.

    • Diamondguy

      May 25, 2021 at 7:51 pm

      No doubt that a good ole ballpark hotdog is hard to beat. However I do like Boog’s BBQ too!

    • Rich Dubroff

      May 25, 2021 at 8:00 pm

      Ken, from 2007, MLB attendance fell from 79.484 million to 68.5 million in 2019, so obviously many have gotten out of the habit.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        May 25, 2021 at 9:08 pm

        That’s sad. I just looked for an O’s game being played in Texas to get tickets. No O’s games in Texas for the rest of the year? Did I miss those games (In Texas) during my one month failed attempt at boycotting the game?

        (I may have to make a trip home to Va. this year just to make a game)

    • dlgruber1

      May 25, 2021 at 8:54 pm

      He as it occurred to anyone at MLB that fans are staying away because today’s game sucks compared to years ago. Fans aren’t there to see nothing more than K’s and HRs yet I really think all MLB cares about is the long ball. And guess what else MLB, a lot of fans don’t give a rats ass if someone can do a bat flip when they hit a meaningless HR. God I never thought I’d see the day where I turn off so many games as I do now, and I’m someone that doesn’t get to watch many live games to begin with. Pathetic.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        May 25, 2021 at 9:09 pm

        You’re definitely not the first to decry the all or nothing nature of today’s game. Small ball was soooo much more fun to watch. Frankly, I think even the chicks are sick of the long ball anymore!

    • TxBirdFan

      May 25, 2021 at 8:58 pm

      I enjoy watching a game on TV but have been really happy going back to see games in person. And despite their poor record overall the Rangers have been drawing very well. They averaged over 30,000 for their 3 games with the Astros last weekend and the players were really energized by the crowd – which helped win some ball games. With all these young guys coming up the Orioles need to do a better job creating excitement for the fans. And the O’s need to win a few games.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        May 25, 2021 at 9:10 pm

        A brand new ball park and the end of the covid restrictions certainly wouldn’t hurt Ranger attendance.

    • Icterus fan

      May 25, 2021 at 9:10 pm

      Watching on TV isn’t the same. No way. I understand the convenience (and safety) of staying home, but nothing captures the game like being at the stadium for all the sensory reasons we know and love.
      Build excitement by winning some games, and people WILL come back.
      Winning solves everything.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        May 25, 2021 at 9:12 pm

        Agreed. So the plan is to go to a game around ’24 or ’25 then?

    • Icterus fan

      May 25, 2021 at 9:19 pm

      Sounds good. We’re gonna get that $10 beer and a cheap (not gourmet) hot dog with mustard in the tinfoil wrapper. And we’ll talk about Hank Bauer. Or something cool.
      Let’s do it!

    • Rich Dubroff

      May 25, 2021 at 9:41 pm

      Ken, the Orioles played in Texas April 16-18. They’ll be in Houston June 26-28.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        May 25, 2021 at 9:57 pm

        Hmmmmmm….Houston is the armpit of Texas. BUT ….it may be worth the 5 hour drive. Haven’t seen a game in coming up on 2 years now.

        Thanks for the follow up and suggestion. Would really have loved to see them in the new park in Arlington.

    • TxBirdFan

      May 25, 2021 at 11:13 pm

      BRR – I was at two of the Oriole vs Ranger games and was looking for you!

  4. Shamus

    May 25, 2021 at 8:02 pm

    Severino is a freakin joke. Are you kidding me?

    • CalsPals

      May 25, 2021 at 8:04 pm

      You beat me to it…go O’s…

  5. Icterus fan

    May 25, 2021 at 8:57 pm

    Hey! Hyde is letting Kremer “work through” a nightmarish 39 pitch second inning. Go Brandon!
    He must be reading this blog.
    Listening to the radio, the announcers blamed the balls getting away from Severino on wild pitches, and said the strike zone was inconsistent.
    Anybody see it?

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      May 25, 2021 at 9:04 pm

      Correct on both counts.

    • CalsPals

      May 25, 2021 at 9:12 pm

      Severino is pathetic & yes the strike zone is horrible…go O’s…

    • TPhoebus

      May 25, 2021 at 10:32 pm

      Both wild pitches can be viewed for free at mlb dot com videos associated with today’s game. Both were tough but a fan would hope his team’s catcher would corral those two pitches.

      1st wild pitch catcher was set up low and the pitch was high and away but it looked like Severino reacted a bit late.

      2nd wild pitch bounced a few inches behind the plate and Severino made a somewhat standing back hand stab at it instead of dropping down to block it. It reminded me of how he played the pitch in the dirt that changed Means perfect game to a no hitter-popped up instead of dropping down.

  6. dlgruber1

    May 26, 2021 at 12:42 am

    Palmer always talks about how important a “shutdown” inning is after your team scores. EVERY inning the O’s scored in yesterday the Twins scored as many or more runs in the bottom of the inning. Unbelievable.

    • CalsPals

      May 26, 2021 at 10:32 am

      dl, agree, but it wasn’t just yesterday, they seem to never be able to shutdown the other team when we’ve just scored, part of it’s gotta be mentality, maybe they let up (pitcher) because we’ve crawled back, bottom lone is they don’t know how to win, winning is just as contagious as losing, seems we’ve caught losing & can’t shake it…go O’s…

    • CalsPals

      May 26, 2021 at 10:45 am

      Bottom LINE…go O’s…

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