ST. PETERSBURG, Florida—DL Hall’s major league debut didn’t go as well as he expected, and when he appears in his next game with the Orioles it will be as a reliever.
Hall, the Orioles’ No. 1 pick in the 2017 draft, allowed five runs in 3 2/3 innings and was sent back to Triple-A Norfolk after the Orioles lost to the Tampa Bay Rays, 8-2, before an announced crowd of 16,823 at Tropicana Field on Saturday.
Hall threw 76 pitches, gave up five hits on five runs, struck out six and walked three. He had one dominant inning, the second, when he struck out the side.
“This was a real blessing. This was something that I dreamt of since I was 4 years old,” Hall said. “It didn’t go the way you quite pictured it, but it’s still a blessing to call yourself a big-leaguer and get to experience that. It was unbelievable.”
The loss dropped the Orioles (59-54) a half-game behind the Rays (59-53) for the third wild-card spot.
“We decided that he got his feet wet in the big leagues, made his first start,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “He’s going to go to Norfolk and we’re going to convert to a reliever to help us out in the last part of the season. He’s going to go down and help us out in the bullpen to finish off the year.”
Hall (0-1) walked leadoff batter Yu Chang on four pitches. With one out, Randy Arozarena dribbled a single to the right side to move Change to third. He scored on a strange play when Isaac Paredes thought he fouled a ball off his shin guard and didn’t run to first as third baseman Ramón Urías fielded the ball and threw to first.
“I’d say I was pretty nervous,” Hall said. “Yesterday, I was all right. I woke up this morning, and it all kind of hit me at once and then coming to the field, continued to build. Those first couple of batters, I told a few guys: ‘Man, I couldn’t even feel my body, really.’ It was crazy.”
Hyde described Hall as “overamped,” but he seemed to settle down in the second when he struck out Christian Bethancourt, José Siri and Roman Quinn on 12 pitches.
“I think he did good,” catcher Robinson Chirinos said. “Early in the game, he was getting behind people. I think his fastball was tough to command today. I think his changeup, his slider and the curveball was more in the zone. I’ve liked his stuff since spring training.
“I know he can help this team now and going forward. His stuff plays really well. I’m looking forward for his next outing when he’s more calm and behind the ball with his fastball and attack the strike zone more … The second inning was way better when he was throwing his fastball in the zone, and his breaking ball in the zone. I’m looking forward for his next outing so he can repeat that second inning.”
The Orioles gave Hall a 2-1 lead in the second on a leadoff double by Urías and RBI singles by Rougned Odor and Chirinos. Jorge Mateo, whose single was his sixth straight hit, scored on the hit by Chirinos.
Consecutive run-scoring doubles by Arozarena and Paredes and an RBI single by Francisco Mejia put Tampa Bay ahead, 4-2, after three. Siri singled to begin the fourth, stole second and third before scoring on a sacrifice fly to right by Chang to give the Rays a 5-2 lead.
“Just talking to him, I think it was a little quick for him,” Hyde said. “I thought he showed flashes of what he’s going to be in that second inning where he had electric stuff. It’s a lot for a young pitcher to make their debut. I just think he was a little overamped early … He’s going to be a really good pitcher, and we’re excited for him going forward.”
Hyde said the Orioles wanted Hall to experience the major leagues in a pennant race. The Orioles also want to monitor his innings. Including his minor league innings, Hall has thrown 81 1/3 innings. The most he has thrown as a professional was 94 1/3 for Delmarva in 2018, his first full season.
“We did it for numerous reasons. One was to get him here and get acclimated to what it’s like here,” Hyde said. “Now, he goes down, understands what he needs to work on, change a role to end the season. It wasn’t the results that he wanted, but anytime you get the first experience out of the way, it was positive.”
Hall pitched in relief four times in the minors, but hasn’t since 2019.
“I’m going to go down and work on what I need to work on … I’m just going to attack it the same way,” Hall said. “The big thing for me is going right at guys, and I’m just going to continue to do that in the relief role.”
Rosters expand to 28 on September 1st, and the Orioles can add an extra pitcher. Perhaps Hall will be back then, or sooner.
“This is a great team, a great group of guys. To see them winning like they are, it’s super exciting and I hope to be able to come back as soon as possible and help them to continue to win,” Hall said. “You see the light at the end of the tunnel and, hopefully, I can iron some things out and come show what I can do up here.”
Chirinos thinks Hall can do well in whatever role the Orioles choose. “I know he can start at this level and be really good,” he said. “I’m looking forward for him to get back here and help this team.”
An RBI single by Chang against Spenser Watkins in the sixth gave Tampa Bay a 6-2 lead.
Tampa Bay starter Shane McClanahan (11-5) is 5-0 against the Orioles in seven career starts. He allowed two runs on seven hits in six innings.
After Chirinos flied out to center to end the eighth, Tampa Bay reliever Pete Fairbanks yelled at him, apparently upset that Chirinos had called a late timeout earlier in the at-bat. Chirinos had to be held back as the benches and bullpens emptied, but order was quickly restored.
“I don’t know. He’s wild,” Chirinos said of Fairbanks. “Everybody knows that in the league. I called a timeout. [Home plate umpire Andy Fletcher] called it late. It was not my fault. I guess he thought it was my fault that I called that timeout late, but in the end, we lost that game. It doesn’t matter. I don’t’ care about it anyway.”
Fairbanks explained his reaction.
“There was a late time call. I took offense. Apparently, I misunderstood who had called time, where it came from,” Fairbanks said. “Apparently, it was the umpire, not Chirinos. I, as you guys know, can be a little fiery. So, I think that that might have caused some things today.”
Taylor Walls hit a two-run home run against Watkins in the eighth
Ryan Mountcastle was hit by a pitch on his left hand by former Oriole reliever Jimmy Yacabonis with two outs in the ninth. Mountcastle’s hand was wrapped after the game. He said it was swollen, but Hyde said he thought it would be all right.
Notes: To make room for Hall, the Orioles optioned left-hander Nick Vespi to Triple-A Norfolk. Vespi was 4-0 with a 1.98 ERA and a save. “Nick’s throwing the ball well for us. He’s not somebody we wanted to see go,” Hyde said. “Hopefully, we see Nick back soon. Nick’s done a good job for us. It’s not a demotion. It’s just a roster move that we need to navigate the last 50 games.” … Jordan Lyles (9-8, 4.35) will face Drew Rasmussen (6-4, 2.96) on Sunday at 1:40 p.m. Hall was the 54th player used by the Orioles this season. … The Orioles will add another pitcher for Sunday’s game.
Minor league update: Akron scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth to beat Double-A Bowie, 3-2, in the first game of a doubleheader. Rightfielder Hudson Haskin had both RBIs for the Baysox.
Infielder Darrel Hernaiz hit his fourth home run in High-A Aberdeen’s 3-1 loss to Hudson Valley.