Starring roles for supporting cast in Orioles' 3-2 win over Rangers; Valaika, Gutiérrez lead offense -

Rich Dubroff

Starring roles for supporting cast in Orioles’ 3-2 win over Rangers; Valaika, Gutiérrez lead offense

Photo credit: Daniel Kucin Jr. USA Today Sports

BALTIMORE—The Orioles are using the final days of the season as auditions for some of their lesser-known players, and unknowns.

On Saturday night, manager Brandon Hyde had to piece together a game largely using pitchers who hadn’t appeared in an Orioles game before early August and three position players who are also new to the team.

The patchwork Orioles beat the Texas Rangers, 3-2, before an announced crowd of 10,645 at Camden Yards.

“We had quite a few guys down today,” Hyde said. “It was going to be a game with a lot of guys that were just acquired that were new to us, and I was impressed with how they pitched. They did a great job, kind of pieced it together.”

Chris Ellis, who came to the Orioles on waivers from Tampa Bay on August 20th, started and pitched three scoreless innings but was removed because of arm fatigue. Ellis was supposed to start on Tuesday in Philadelphia but couldn’t because of the tired arm.

“It started feeling a little bit better since my last time around,” Ellis said. “It just kind of was ongoing, and as the game went on, kind of got worse. It get to the point where I felt I wasn’t doing myself or the team justice by pitching anymore, so I came in, talked to Hyder and told him I was feeling a little bit of tightness in my shoulder.

“I don’t think it’s anything too serious. I’ll probably see over the next couple of days. I’m hoping I can bounce back pretty quick from it.”

Ellis was followed by Marcos Diplán, who joined the team on August 6th and pitched two shutout innings.

Joey Krehbiel, who was claimed on waivers from the Rays earlier in the week and was recalled on Friday, recorded five outs.  Brooks Kriske (2-1), another recent waiver claim, allowed a leadoff home run by José Trevino in the eighth.


Dillon Tate, one of the few bullpen mainstays remaining on the roster, gave up a leadoff home run to Nathaniel Lowe in the ninth and recorded a four-out save against the Rangers (56-99).

Jordan Lyles (9-13) kept the Orioles (50-105) scoreless through six. Trey Mancini walked and scored on a double by Pat Valaika to left in the seventh. After pinch-hitter Cedric Mullins grounded to second, Kelvin Gutiérrez, who was purchased from Kansas City in early July, hit a two-run home run to right-center, his first with the Orioles, to give them a 3-0 lead.

“I was anxious to hit one with the Orioles, so finally I’m able to hit one,” Gutiérrez said through a translator. “Hopefully, I’ll get some more.”

Since Maikel Franco was released in late August, Gutiérrez has gotten most of the starts at third base. He’s batting .218 with a .573 OPS in 78 games with the Royals and Orioles, and has been solid on defense.

“I see this as a huge opportunity for me,” Gutiérrez said. “This is something I’ve been working pretty hard at and now it’s time for me to work hard and take advantage of the situation.”

The inexperienced pitching staff had a new catcher to throw to. Nick Ciuffo, who was often on the taxi squad during road trips, started a day after his contract was purchased from Norfolk. He doubled in the sixth inning.

Notes: Anthony Santander, who missed three games because of a sore left hamstring, returned and was hitless in four at-bats, although he did make a good running catch. … Austin Hays’ eighth-inning double extended his hitting streak to 11 games.  … John Means (6-7, 3.25 ERA) will face Dane Dunning (5-9, 4.34) on Sunday afternoon.

Minor league update: Designated hitter Adley Rutschman had three hits in Norfolk’s 6-5 loss to Charlotte. Dean Kremer started and pitched three hitless innings, striking out five and walking two. Paul Fry pitched a perfect inning, and centerfielder Yusniel Diaz hit his third home run.

While the seasons of Aberdeen, Bowie and Delmarva have ended, Norfolk’s season continues through October 3rd.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB






  1. CalsPals

    September 26, 2021 at 8:23 am

    Tampa Bay JV doing ok, arm fatigue, maybe why he wasn’t protected, no mention of Gutierrez base running screw up, glad to see him redeem himself…glad to see Ciuffo get a chance from Norfolk while batting in the .180’s, Adley still wondering WTH….go O’s…

    • HmmmImNotSoSureAboutThat

      September 26, 2021 at 9:12 am

      Adley isn’t wondering WTH

      • Hallbe62

        September 26, 2021 at 11:30 am

        How the flip does His Royal Highness know what AR is thinking or not thinking ??!+-&??

        Yet again, same ole’ schtick JOSEPHUS

    • Rich Dubroff

      September 26, 2021 at 9:47 am

      No, I didn’t mention Gutierrez not sliding at the plate because it didn’t affect the outcome of the game.

  2. Orial

    September 26, 2021 at 8:26 am

    Nice if not a ho-hum win. One thing about about Tate–he’ll never go unscathed(HR) even if he’s picking up a save. As mentioned last night(CalPals) ya gotta wonder about Guttierrez’ baseball instincts/smarts(he does smile maybe a little too much) after watching him blow off Hays and try to score standing up. That being said he and Jorge Mateo are so raw and carry so much potential that I’ll be rooting for them come spring 2022. Please put Santander out of his misery and get another OFer up here. Maybe even Yusniel Diaz. Hey ya never know. I know a .160 BA isn’t exactly deserving but maybe a taste of big league ball might make something click with this enigma of a ballplayer. Of course they won’t be being that they’ll probably want to field their “A” team with the Red Sox/Jays coming up. Encouraging Sept. for Kremer. Ariz/Balt both 50-105–battle till the end. Vegas should taking bets on this.

    • HmmmImNotSoSureAboutThat

      September 26, 2021 at 9:11 am

      Yep the 38 times Tates has not let up a run this season backs up your “he’ll never go unscathed”

      Smiles too much?

      Santander: 0.967 OPS in August, 0.604 in September
      Al: put him out his misery

    • CalsPals

      September 26, 2021 at 9:40 am

      LOL, C’mon Al…ya can’t quote anything I say or Hmmm, change my name again will chastise you…;)…go O’s…

      • Orial

        September 26, 2021 at 10:15 am

        I just find it curious how people criticize people for being negative when being negative is fully justified with a 50-105 team.

    • CalsPals

      September 26, 2021 at 11:11 am

      Totally agree Al…you’re 100% right…go O’s…

  3. HmmmImNotSoSureAboutThat

    September 26, 2021 at 9:18 am

    Addressing the ole “oh no that guy made a base running error yesterday, he has no baseball instincts” typical overreaction here by the usual suspects

    Fangraphs rate Gutierrez as a slightly above average base runner for the season (yes, he made a glaring mistake in yesterday’s game). Below average base runners on the O’s during the 2021 season? Glad you asked: Mancini -5.6 runs cost, Severino -3.2, Martin -1.8, Wynns -1.3, Valaika -0.8, Mountcastle -0.8, and Hays -0.6.

    • Orial

      September 26, 2021 at 10:20 am


    • BenSch

      September 26, 2021 at 10:35 am

      Mancini dogging it from 1st base, commentator (don’t remember which one) goes, “Mancini’s dragging an anchor around 3rd base!” Made me laugh.
      If Gutierrez can become a consistent hitter, I want him on our team (not playing against us)!

    • markakis21

      September 26, 2021 at 11:28 am

      I don’t really blame Mancini, it’s gotta be rough coming back from all that.

      Wild that Martin has barely played and has that speed and yet is -1.8. There’s your poor instincts for you I suppose haha.

  4. millboy

    September 26, 2021 at 9:22 am

    Love the stats! Smiles too much? Come on!

    • Orial

      September 26, 2021 at 10:16 am

      Yeah maybe a little harsh BUT I did mention that I like his raw skills and can’t wait to see him play in spring 2022.

  5. Orioles20

    September 26, 2021 at 10:27 am

    If Kelvin could hit a bit he could be legit because he can sure pick it at third. Hays is starting to distance himself from Stewart. Stewart should never play again for the orioles with hays emerging against righties. Santander is starting to fall into the injury prone category. Hate to say. But when healthy we know what he’s capable of.

    • markakis21

      September 26, 2021 at 11:31 am

      I’d give Santa one more chance next year to stay healthy before cutting bait. Just use Mckenna, Hays, Mullins, and Santander in near equal shares (more for Mullins though) and roll with that.

      I was never a McKenna believer, but I’m really beginning to come around to him. I like what I’ve seen in his approach, and it’s slowly starting to show up on the stat sheet. It takes guys time to adjust to new levels (unless they are Adley!!!), we need to remember that.

  6. Icterus fan

    September 26, 2021 at 11:51 am

    Happy for Gutierrez; good to see him hit a HR. I did not see the base running gaffe, so can’t comment. I like his smiles and positivity- everyone brings a different personality to the table.

    Santander has talent and seems like a good hitter but he’s streaky. Nice arm in right, but just seems to be made of glass in some respects. Cant stay on the field, and seems uninterested in general. Just my anecdotal fan perception

    It seems some of these guys are just playing to not get hurt at this point.

    Agree that the OF of Hays, Mullins and McKenna seems pretty capable.

    • Birdman

      September 26, 2021 at 12:29 pm

      McKenna looks like a useful no. 4 outfielder (good defense and speed), but he certainly hasn’t shown the kind of offense necessary to put him ahead of Santander as a regular starter.

    • Icterus fan

      September 26, 2021 at 12:55 pm

      I don’t disagree with that. However maybe McKenna will show more durability than Santander over time, increasing his OF value.
      McKenna will need to hit, that’s for sure.
      In 155 2021 AB, he’s batting .194 with 2 HR and 12 RBI.
      He may not ever have the offensive game that Santander has, but he can contribute by being on the field more.
      Who knows, with this ever shifting Orioles landscape.

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