Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman put on an impressive performance in Monday night’s Home Run Derby. Rutschman hit 27 home runs—21 from the left side in the three minutes he was allocated and six from the right side in the extra 30 seconds that competitors get. A seventh straight from the right side came just after the time limit.
While Rutschman showed huge power as his father, Randy, pitched to him, the Chicago White Sox’s Luis Robert beat him when he hit his 28th.
Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. won the Home in Run Derby at T-Mobile Park in Seattle.
Rutschman was the first Oriole to compete in the Derby since Trey Mancini finished second to Pete Alonso in 2021.
Getting ready for All-Star Game: Orioles outfielder ustin Hays is batting seventh and playing center field in the starting lineup for the American League in Tuesday night’s All-Star Game.
Hays, who was originally named a reserve for the All-Star Game, was named a starter because Aaron Judge and Mike Trout are both injured. He’s the first Oriole to start since Cedric Mullins replaced an injured Trout in center field in 2021.
Rutschman is one of three catchers for the AL. Texas’ Jonah Heim, who beat Rutschman in Phase 2 of voting, will start and Kansas City’s Salvador Perez is also on the team.
AL Manager Dusty Baker told reporters in Seattle that all three catchers would play.
Oriole relievers Félix Bautista and Yennier Cano are also on the AL team. It’s the first time the Orioles have had multiple representatives since 2016.
Looking ahead to second half: With all the talk about the All-Star Game and the Major League Baseball draft, which concludes on Tuesday, the Orioles’ outstanding first half isn’t a topic of conversation for the moment.
After the worst week of the Orioles’ season, when they lost six of seven, manager Brandon Hyde emphasized how important the final five games of the first half were.
The Orioles won them all, and they hit the break with a 54-35 record. They’re 19 games over .500, their most since the end of the 2014 season, and their five-game streak is their third of five or more.
They’re two games behind the Tampa Bay Rays, the closest they’ve been since the fifth game of the season when they were 3-2.
Tampa Bay has played four more games than the Orioles, and when they resume play on Friday, they face 20 potentially difficult games in 21 days — three-game series with Miami and the Los Angeles Dodgers, a four-game series at Tampa Bay, three games at Philadelphia and three at home against the New York Yankees before playing four at Toronto.
Each of those teams could be in the postseason, and so should the Orioles. BaseballReference.com calculates that the Orioles have an 82 percent chance of making the postseason. FanGraphs’ estimation is they have a 75.7 percent chance. Their opponents’ strength of schedule is .514, highest in the American League.
The Orioles’ winning percentage is .607, trailing only the Rays and Braves. They’re on pace to win 98 games, and even if they play one game over .500 for the rest of the season (37-36), they’d win 91 games, which should be good enough to qualify for the postseason.
Roster moves coming: The Orioles used 43 players in the first half of the season and had four players on the roster who never played — pitchers Drew Rom and Spenser Watkins and catchers José Godoy and Luis Torrens. They’re likely to make many more moves between the start of the second half and the August 1st trade deadline.
They have 14 position players and just 12 pitchers. They’ll add another pitcher soon after the break and it will be interesting to see which position player is cut.
First baseman Ryan Mountcastle returned on Sunday after a bout with vertigo, and Bruce Zimmermann was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk.
Three relievers — Keegan Akin, Cionel Pérez and Austin Voth — are on the 15-day injured list. Another, Mychal Givens, is on the 60-day injured list.
The Orioles had hoped that they’d be getting starting pitcher John Means back around now. Means had Tommy John surgery in April 2022 and a return after the All-Star break seemed possible.
However, Means injured his back in Sarasota and his return has been pushed back, although he still hopes to pitch sometime this season.
Note: The Orioles released outfielder Zach Watson on Monday. Watson was the Orioles’ third-round draft choice in 2019, but he’d been stuck with Double-A Bowie since 2021 and hit just .214 in 196 games for the Baysox. … Catcher Anthony Bemboom was designated for assignment on July 5th, and no announcement about a transaction involving him has been made.