Orioles win 2 of 3 from Red Sox; Wells delivers third strong start against Boston; Elias talks 2022 - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Orioles win 2 of 3 from Red Sox; Wells delivers third strong start against Boston; Elias talks 2022

Photo credit: Mitchell Layton USA Today Sports

BALTIMORE—In a lost season, the Orioles gave their fans a final home series to cherish. Against the Boston Red Sox, who desperately wanted to sweep the Orioles in their pursuit of an American League wild-card berth, the Orioles won two of three.

On Thursday night, Alexander Wells pitched six strong innings, allowing just one run on three hits as the Orioles beat the Red Sox, 6-2, before an announced crowd of 13,012 at Camden Yards.

“We just threw three inexperienced left-handers against the Boston Red Sox, and they’re in a playoff race, and we won two out of three, and all three were really good starts,” manager Brandon Hyde said.

Bruce Zimmermann pitched the first four innings in the Orioles’ 4-2 win on Tuesday night, allowing just a Kyle Schwarber solo home run. Zac Lowther pitched five innings on Wednesday night and surrendered just a solo homer to J.D. Martinez. Wells’ only mistake in six innings came on his first pitch, which Kiké Hernandez hit for a home run.

“I’m really encouraged by that,” Hyde said. “We’ve pitched well the last 10 days-two weeks, and that’s the name of the game. We’ve got to improve our pitching, and these last couple of weeks we’ve pitched well and stayed in so many games and had so many winnable games.”

The Orioles (52-107), who play their final three games at Toronto this weekend, were led by Wells (2-3), who hadn’t pitched six innings in the majors before.

“Good, quality lineups, especially when you play against AL East teams,” Wells said. “You’re facing one-through-nine hitters. Don’t take your foot off the gas. Go out there and attack.”

Nick Pivetta (9-8) retired the first six Orioles. Tyler Nevin walked to begin the third and took second on a wild pitch. Pat Valaika singled, and moved to second on a wild pitch. Jahmai Jones was caught looking at a third strike and so was Cedric Mullins, although the pitch appeared to be high. Mullins angrily voiced his displeasure. On the next pitch, Ryan Mountcastle hit his 33rd home run for a 3-1 lead. He hit his 32nd against Chris Sale on Monday.

After a shaky start, Wells retired 16 of the final 18 batters he faced.

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“To escape that first inning, only giving up that one run, that was an enormous key to the game,” Hyde said. “He looked a little nervous. The command was spotty. I thought he threw too many fastballs in the zone. Maybe he was overexcited. Once he got through that first inning, his pitch mix was so much better the rest of his outing.

“That team’s got a lot to play for, and they came out swinging the bat right away. He did a great job of settling down, settling in once he got through that first inning.”

The Orioles scored three more runs in the sixth. Trey Mancini led off with an opposite-field single against Garrett Richards. After Pedro Severino fouled out, Kelvin Gutiérrez singled, and both runners moved up on a wild pitch.

That brought in the Boston infield, and Nevin drove a two-run single through it. Nevin took second on the throw home by leftfielder Alex Verdugo and to third on a wild pitch. He was replaced by pinch-runner Ryan McKenna, who scored on Valaika’s sacrifice fly.

The two runs driven in by Nevin were the first in his major league career, and they gave the Orioles a 6-1 lead.

“That was awesome,” Nevin said. “You could feel it in the crowd. You could feel it watching them play. It was great to be able to come through in that moment. It’s fun when the games matter this much to somebody. We’re out of it, but we can still have an effect on how the season goes.”

These games matter to the New York Yankees, who lead the AL wild-card race by two games over the Red Sox and Seattle Mariners. Toronto, which Baltimore plays next, trails Boston and Seattle by a game.

Nevin’s father, Phil, is the Yankees’ third-base coach.

“We kind of joked about it,” Nevin said. “I told him I got called up again. He said: ‘Hey, why don’t you try to help us out?’ ‘If I get in there, I’ll do my best.’ I’m sure we’ll talk about it later.”

Oriole relief pitcher Joey Krehbiel allowed his first run in the majors in the seventh on a double by J.D. Martinez, a walk to Hunter Renfroe, an infield out, and a wild pitch.

Dillon Tate and Cole Sulser pitched scoreless innings in the eighth and ninth.

Boston (89-70) finishes its season with three games at Washington this weekend.

“We’re really inexperienced on the mound,” Hyde said. “We don’t have a ton of veterans in the lineup, either, and they’re playing hard, and I’m happy with how we played this series.”

Notes: Right-handed pitcher Isaac Matson will accompany the Orioles to Toronto as a member of the taxi squad. … Thomas Eshelman could be the starter on Friday night when the Orioles open their final three-game series against the Blue Jays. Steven Matz (13-7, 3.88 ERA) will pitch for Toronto. On Saturday, John Means (6-8, 3.32) will face Alek Manoah (8-2, 3.35). On Sunday, Bruce Zimmermann (4-4, 4.66) will face Hyun Jin Ryu (13-10, 4.39). Saturday and Sunday’s games will begin at 3:07 p.m.

Mullins was the first unanimous choice for Most Valuable Oriole since at least 1998. …For the season, the Orioles drew 793,230, their lowest since 1965 when they drew 781,649. Until June 1st, the team was permitted to sell only 25 percent of its seats. … The Orioles won their final home game for the seventh straight season. … Kevin Smith (3-6) walked six batters and recorded just five outs in his start for Triple-A Norfolk as the Tides lost to Charlotte, 8-0. Norfolk had just three hits.

Elias on 2022: Executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias says the Orioles will be competitive in 2022.

“We think that this team will continuously get better from this point forward,” Elias said on Thursday. “We have a lot of young talent. Young talent tends to get better. We know we’re far away from the other competitors in our division. We’ve got a ways to go to get back in that fight. We’re being mindful that first and foremost the ultimate goal … is to get to that level of play and we’re going to need to compete consistently in this division.

“We don’t want to do anything to derail or shortchange that, but I think there are ways to simultaneously allow our internal players an opportunity to continue getting playing time and not being blocked when we have an interesting player who we want to see for a while that can help bolster this team so it’s better on a night-to-night basis.”

He also said that top prospects Adley Rutschman and pitcher Grayson Rodriguez, the top position player and pitcher in the minor leagues, would be in spring training and that both would have a chance to make the Orioles’ Opening Day roster. Elias said that it wasn’t necessary for Rodriguez to pitch in Triple-A.

Elias added that the Orioles will announce their prospects for the Arizona Fall League on Monday. Outfielder Kyle Stowers, who shared the organization’s top position player award with Rutschman, will be one of them.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

40 Comments

40 Comments

  1. CalsPals

    October 1, 2021 at 7:18 am

    A chance to make the Opening Day roster, seriously…c’mon Mikey…go O’s…

    • HmmmImNotSoSureAboutThat

      October 1, 2021 at 8:07 am

      Both Rutschman and G Rodriguez on the O’s 2022 OD roster, count on it…

  2. CalsPals

    October 1, 2021 at 7:20 am

    Would’ve liked to see Hyde go a lil Weaver-like on Mullins called 3rd strike….go O’s…

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      October 1, 2021 at 8:58 am

      I’ll second that. Hell, I’d like to see ANY manager go all-Weaver on an umpire for ANY reason.

  3. HmmmImNotSoSureAboutThat

    October 1, 2021 at 7:56 am

    Last night’s home plate umpire had a high strike zone, no excuses provided for him. However, this was evident before Mullins AB in the 3rd inning – see the high called 3rd strike on Verdugo to lead off the top of the 2nd. Sometimes it is helpful to be aware of an umpire’s strike zone during a given game and make adjustments accordingly. Good article in deadspin dot com “How are robo-umps faring in the minor leagues?”

  4. NormOs

    October 1, 2021 at 8:18 am

    “The Curse of the Andino” is alive and well.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      October 1, 2021 at 8:54 am

      Yeah baby!! Feels great Norm!

      (looks like Arizona is going to get that pick)

      • NormOs

        October 1, 2021 at 1:21 pm

        1st pick, 2nd pick, one’s as good as the other and nobody knows if either will make the majors. But I’m happy that the Red Sux have a longer road to hoe thanks to MY team.

  5. bill-s

    October 1, 2021 at 8:33 am

    Tagging on to your comment comparing this year’s attendance to 1965: Remember that in 1966, the Orioles won their first World Series thanks to an infusion of terrific young, home-grown starting pitching (Dave McNally, age 24, Jim Palmer, 21, and Wally Bunker, 21) and a newly-acquired, supposedly over-the-hill outfielder named Robinson. Yes, it’s a different world now, but the parallels are striking.

  6. Orial

    October 1, 2021 at 8:35 am

    Mountcastle’s clutch homer following the “called third strike” was as dramatic and satisfying as any dinger this season. After Mullins(.295) the next 3 are hitting in the mid .250’s. Gotta up those numbers next year when these incredible, well pitched games could be back to square one. Who woulda thought that Toronto may be the team getting squeezed out of the playoffs. How ’bout those Mariners. Very interesting weekend coming up in Toronto.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      October 1, 2021 at 8:50 am

      Al, thanks for mentioning the Mariners good fortunes this year. What a turnaround they’ve experienced.

      Those Mariners indeed. They’ve evidently rebuilt that franchise, and they’ve done it with class.

      In the last 6 years the most losses they’ve had in a year is 89.

      In the last 6 drafts, the highest 1st round selection they’ve had is a single #6. The average postion has been 13th. (11,17,14,20,6,12)

      That’s the way a rebuild can and should and can be done. Clean, ethical and with dignity.

      Some ‘real fans’ just don’t understand this.

  7. Boog Robinson Robinson

    October 1, 2021 at 8:56 am

    So how in the world can Ryan Mountcastle not be the ROY?

    The sportswriters of the world seem intent on ignoring him, and every time I read someone’s opionion, he’s not even in the top 3 of discusion!

    • CalsPals

      October 1, 2021 at 9:03 am

      Totally agree, the part the drives me nuts is he’s doing it against the AL East, all (but the O’s) in playoff races, don’t they play each of them 19 times, seems like more than that, Arozarena plays for a first place team & got to play against the O’s 19 times, Mountcastle didn’t get to play against the O’s (obviously), Arozarena was tabbed by the media during last urs playoffs as the front runner for the award this yr…insane…War Schmore (so)…lol…go O’s…

      • Rich Dubroff

        October 1, 2021 at 9:17 am

        You may continue to scoff at WAR, but it’s what’s being used in the baseball world. Unlike a lot of analytically-based writers, I also like the so-called “counting numbers,” too. The more information, the better.

        As for your continually bashing the media for deciding ahead of time who the Rookie of the Year is, no one knows who’ll be choosing until mid-August.

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 1, 2021 at 9:10 am

      Ken, I don’t have a Rookie of the Year vote, but this year there are more excellent rookies than in any other year I can remember.

      Mountcastle’s case is hurt by his defense. His defensive WAR is -1.5.

      Randy Arozarena’s overall WAR is 3.9. Mountcastle’s is 1.1.

      Even though you and other readers scoff at WAR, it’s taken very seriously by those in the game and many writers.

      I find it a good, but not infalliable, general measurement of a player’s value.

      Houston’s Luis Garcia, Tampa Bay’s Shane McClanahan and Wander Franco, Texas’ Adolis Garcia and Emmanuel Clase of the Indians are also good choices.

      In many years, Mountcastle would win. He just has too many other good players to compete with.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        October 1, 2021 at 12:48 pm

        OK….I’ll live if Mountcastle doesn’t win the ROY. It’s hard to compare him against the pitchers, but I looked them up anyway.

        Garcia and McClanahan Both had very fine seasons, but nothing that really screams greatness to me. And considering starting pitchers only go 5 innings anymore, I have a problem with them vs. every day players. Starters are simply a bridge to the relievers anymore. Not buying either of these guys. And yes, I noticed the WARs.

        Emmanuel Clase? Really? A relief pitcher with a sparkling ERA, 24 saves and a losing record? The fact that he has a great ERA and 24 saves tells me that more likey than not, those numbers were groomed by Terry Francona as they often are my managers picking thier spots with their guys. Again …nice WAR.

        As far as the 2 hitters you mentioned, Wander Franco is on list by name recognition & prospect status. Yeah he has an outstanding WAR and nice batting average, but only 266 at bats and a pedestrian 7 Homers …. not enough face time in my opinion.

        Adolis Garcia comes the closest. But if you look at their lines, Garcia comes up short in just about every offensive category when compared to Mountcastle. And yet he has a superior WAR.

        Now for WAR, I think there’s a misconception with my opinion of it. I don’t think it’s useless, or to be scoffed at. What I do think is that it’s a nice try do judge a players all round value, BUT that is’ very subjective. Its weigjhted by category,and that “weighting”, is EXTREMELY subjective. It’s not definative mathmatics as those who use it as an end all yardstick would have you believe.

        It’s just that WAR doesn’t really tell me much more about a player that I can’t glean by reading the tradtional numbers and watching the player run, catch, hit and throw. But it’s not useless. Odds are that if I were to list players I’m familiar with, with a list of those same players sorted by WAR….those 2 lists wouldn’t be all that different.

    • CalsPals

      October 1, 2021 at 9:32 am

      Not knowing they get to vote until mid-August has NOTHING to do with how they’d vote, if they are semi-professional they would be thinking they would have a vote & watch the whole season, not go, Oh crap, I’ve only really been watching the major players & my team & now I have to look at everyone…that would be the lazy approach…go O’s…

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 1, 2021 at 1:39 pm

      Ken, I wasn’t referring to you as scoffing at WAR. I find you to be open-minded, eager to learn and willing to adapt.

      WAR isn’t perfect. It drastically underrated Sandy Koufax because his career and peak were short, and Lou Brock because it doesn’t measure how he disrupted a game.

      It does bring to light some players who weren’t appreciated the way they should have been: Lou Whitaker, whose WAR was equal to Johnny Bench’s, Rickey Henderson, who was 14th all-time, ahead of Mickey Mantle and Bobby Grich.

      If it correlated perfectly with the “counting numbers,” it would be useless, but it’s a tool that’s great for comparing contemporary players with their predecessors.

      • WorldlyView

        October 1, 2021 at 6:26 pm

        Rich, Could you explain how WAR is calculated. The concept seems arbitrary, but you say that baseball hot shots embrace it.

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 1, 2021 at 6:46 pm

      This is a good question, Steve, and since we have a mailbag coming up next week, let’s answer it in more detail than so more people will see it.

    • Raymo

      October 1, 2021 at 11:00 pm

      This is great. Between this discussion and next week’s mailbag, I’ll finally know the answer to the burning question: WAR, what is it good for?

  8. Orioles20

    October 1, 2021 at 9:02 am

    There seems to be a sentiment around these pitchers that they need to attack. You’re just now figuring that out? It only took you getting your head bashed in twice to know that you have to attack hitters. Particularly when you don’t have great stuff like Wells and Lowther. Ideally Adley and Rodriguez start next year in triple a particularly if they don’t change the service time rules. Of course Elias is saying they have the chance to make the opening day roster. Why is Eshleman pitching? How does he keep finding is way on the roster? Call up Baumann or Bradish to start.

  9. BalBall

    October 1, 2021 at 9:41 am

    Hi Rich, that was a fun series to see. 2 out of 3 ain’t bad, or was it Meatloaf who said that? Thanks for posting the picture. See you at spring training. Be well and stay safe. Jeff Maynard

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 1, 2021 at 9:47 am

      Thank you, Jeff. See you in Sarasota.

  10. Buzz1979

    October 1, 2021 at 11:44 am

    Weaver was one of a kind, still miss him. These strong finishes by the young starters are nice, but didn’t Kremer have a nice start last season?

  11. Buzz1979

    October 1, 2021 at 11:50 am

    Absolutely NO reason Eshelman to be pitching, none, zero, nada!

    • NormOs

      October 1, 2021 at 5:41 pm

      They fired him once but he couldn’t find another job so he decided to come back to The O’s

  12. willmiranda

    October 1, 2021 at 11:53 am

    Congrats to the O’s for taking 2 of 3 from the Sox! Always a good thing, especially with Red Sox Nation paying for all those seats. It’s good to say they are playing for “something,” but they are playing very poorly. They have lost five out of six and seem tired, especially offensively. Bogaerts, for example, is in a big slump. Normally they are very patient at the plate, but their discipline is gone. We may say that it’s our pitchers who are “attacking the zone,'” but that doesn’t fully explain an inning where three outs were recorded on four pitches or other innings lasting fewer than ten or twelve. I don’t mind kicking them when they’re down –they do it enough to us– but we haven’t been facing a playoff team at its best. I hope we do as well against Toronto, but historically they seem to do well against us when it matters.

  13. Nellie

    October 1, 2021 at 11:56 am

    September success is Fools Gold. Wasn’t it Buck that said it?
    Enjoyable and fun to watch, no matter.

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 1, 2021 at 12:17 pm

      Nellie, I think September ball is more realistic because the rosters aren’t as bloated as they were when Buck made those comments.

  14. ClayDal

    October 1, 2021 at 1:10 pm

    Conventional wisdom is that Rutschman will be held back 3 weeks at the start of 2022 to gain an extra year service time. But one could make the argument that the pandemic cost him an earlier promotion. If there had been a normal 2020 season, he most likely would have started at Frederick (High A). At a minimum, he would have finished the year at Bowie, with the possibility of Norfolk. So he would have started this year at Norfolk and if he had played like he did the last 2 months, he would have been in Baltimore by mid June- like Weiters. He’s going to be 24 next February, so he’s played enough games at Norfolk. He’s already been held back because of no minor league season in 2020. So he should be on the Opening Day roster next year unless he’s really awful in Spring Training.

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 1, 2021 at 1:44 pm

      John, the Collective Bargaining Agreement may well take care of the service time argument, and I hope it does.

      I think he will be on the Opening Day roster because he’s ready. I don’t think Elias wants to promise a roster spot to anyone, even Rutschman.

    • Winchester

      October 1, 2021 at 3:09 pm

      There’s been much talk of getting rid of Severino- ( I favor keeping him over “can’t hit”” Wynns). But if they keep Rutchman down for three weeks, who will be our two catchers in the interim?

  15. ClayDal

    October 1, 2021 at 1:18 pm

    As for Mountcastle’s Rookie of the Year chances, I have no idea how WAR ( wins above replacement) is computed. Like NFL QB passer ratings. But defense apparently plays a role in the numbers and Mountcastle’s defensive metrics are negative. If his overall WAR was close to Arozarena his offensive numbers might put him over him. But 3.7 to 1.1 is going to be hard for him to overcome. Plus 2/3 of the voters are writers who cover the AL Central and West. They only get to see Mountcastle 6 times in person-and probably fewer since many writers don’t travel because of the pandemic. So my guess is Mountcastle finishes 3rd behind Arozorena and Garcia

  16. BenSch

    October 1, 2021 at 1:30 pm

    Ump says “you’re out, Cedric” and Ryan says, “get stuffed!” and goes yard on the next pitch.

  17. dlgruber1

    October 1, 2021 at 3:43 pm

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad to see the recent success by the young group O’s pitchers down the stretch but I’m not falling for that again. I thought at the end of last season that Kremer and Akin were gonna be, along with Means, the core of a potentially solid rotation. Well, we all know that didn’t happen. Who knows tho, maybe Lowther, Baumann, Wells, Zimmerman and Means will be the next solid rotation. That’s not to mention GR. See, now there I go again, already looking forward to the potential of next years starting rotation. Dammit I gotta stop doing this!!

  18. NormOs

    October 1, 2021 at 5:36 pm

    Again, The O’s have a bullpen consisting of Lopez and Wells and a bunch of waiver wire untradables. If The O’s are serious, and I, for one have my doubts as long as that Clown College graduate is in charge, maybe next year theyll only lose 95/100 games but Elias won’t spend any money. He’s probably still “not interested in any of the top 50 free agents”

  19. Icterus fan

    October 1, 2021 at 6:20 pm

    Historically it seems like the Jays have had our number. I remember so many clutch hits from Jose Bautista (Roughned Odor not withstanding) which are bad memories.
    However I am looking forward to seeing if we can continue to play the spoiler role again in this final series. Rather satisfying if it happens.
    Look for Geddy Lee in the seats right behind home plate. He’s a huge Jays fan.

    • Icterus fan

      October 1, 2021 at 7:45 pm

      Well, I don’t see Geddy. Maybe he gave up his season tickets ?

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