BALTIMORE—Entering Friday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays, the Orioles have played 20 home games—a quarter of their home season. They’ve played, and pitched, far better at home than they have on the road.
The Orioles are 10-10 at home and 5-14 on the road. Their pitchers have a 2.90 ERA at home; it’s 4.99 on the road.
Oriole pitchers have allowed 12 home runs at home, less than half the 25 they’ve served up on the road. They do have a built-in — or is it built out?– advantage they didn’t have before this season — the left-field wall has been moved back nearly 30 feet and raised 6 feet.
They’ve hit 16 home runs at home and 14 on the road. Five of the 16 home runs have been over the left-field wall—two by Ryan Mountcastle, and one each by Austin Hays, Robinson Chirinos and Anthony Santander.
The New York Yankees’ Giancarlo Stanton became the first opponent to clear the wall. His teammate, Aaron Judge, was critical of the new dimensions after he hit a double off the top of the wall during a game in which he would’ve had three home runs.
Manager Brandon Hyde hasn’t talked to his pitchers about the wall.
“We are way more aggressive in the strike zone this year,” Hyde said. “I think there’s a lot of factors, and the wall could be one of those factors, but we are pitching more aggressive in the strike zone on the road, too, but I think it is comforting knowing that a routine fly ball is not a home run.”
The Orioles haven’t allowed more than seven runs in a home game. In 2021, they allowed 10 or more in 18 home games. It will be interesting to see if opponents’ production rises now that the warmer weather is here.
The Toronto Blue Jays, who averaged nearly nine runs per game and hit 21 home runs in their nine games at Oriole Park, aren’t scheduled to play in Baltimore until August 8th. Toronto was scheduled to open the season in Baltimore, but because of the lockout those games were postponed and won’t be played until October 3rd-5th.
Notes: Ryan Mountcastle, who’s eligible to return from the 10-day injured list on Saturday, was scheduled for pregame batting practice. Mountcastle has been out because of a left wrist injury. “He’s out there. He’s going to be hitting in about five minutes. If everything goes well and he doesn’t feel anything he’ll be back in there tomorrow,” Hyde said. … Left-handed pitcher Logan Allen, who was designated for assignment on Tuesday, cleared waivers and was assigned outright to Triple-A Norfolk.
Roger Angell dies: Roger Angell, the acclaimed writer whose articles on baseball in The New Yorker were published as collections in several best-selling books, died Friday in New York at 101.
Angell was the only non-member of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America to win its highest prize in 2014, which was then called the J.G. Taylor Spink Award. He was honored on Hall of Fame weekend in Cooperstown, New York that July.
His full-time job was as fiction editor of The New Yorker. He was urged by an editor in 1962 to go to spring training, and he wrote about the New York Mets, who would lose 120 games in their first year.
Angell’s most noted books were “The Summer Game,” “Five Seasons,” “Late Innings” and “Once Around the Park.” He continued writing and following baseball well into his 90s.