What they're saying about Orioles' 13-4 win over Angels - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

What they’re saying about Orioles’ 13-4 win over Angels

Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan USA TODAY Sports

BALTIMORE—What happened? For the second straight game, the Orioles won easily, 13-4, over the Los Angeles Angels. They won, 11-3, on Opening Day and have scored 24 runs in two games while their starting pitchers, Corbin Burnes and Grayson Rodriguez, have been dominant — each giving up a run in six innings while combining for 20 strikeouts.

Shortstop and leadoff hitter Gunnar Henderson had three hits, including a leadoff home run and a two-triple. He hit the ball hard in each at-bat.

The Orioles scored nine runs in the sixth to break open a 3-1 game. They batted around — all nine hitters in the lineup — before making an out, capped by a three-run home run by Anthony Santander, his second three-run homer in two games.

Rodriguez allowed one run on four hits in six innings, striking out nine.

Oriole pitchers have struck out a record 27 batters in the season’s first two games. The 24 runs scored are the second most in team history. In 2006, they scored 26 in the first two games.

“Two really good starts and two outstanding offensive performances,” manager Brandon Hyde said.

Henderson was removed for pinch-hitter Tony Kemp with an 11-run Orioles lead in the eighth inning, needing only a double for the cycle.

“I get it. I get the decision,” Henderson said.

The team’s offensive performance in the first two games excites him.

“We’re definitely learning from our experiences last year,” Henderson said. “We’re able to take them into this year, even put better at-bats, keep passing the baton. I feel that makes our offense click, just keep doing that. I feel like we’re just scratching the surface, still lot of room to go, and a lot of games to go.”

Rodriguez’s last start in Baltimore came in Game 2 of the Division Series against the Rangers, when he allowed five runs on six hits in 1 2/3 innings. The Rangers swept the series.

“I was definitely pretty eager. That last outing really put a sour taste in my mouth,” Rodriguez said. “Being able to come back to this ballpark and erase that and move on to 2024 was pretty big for me.”

Rodriguez left the game with a 3-1 lead, and he watched as his teammates scored nine runs to make the game a blowout.

“I think it’s a good thing,” Rodriguez said. “Obviously wanting to go back out there, but any time your offense is going to put up nine runs in an inning, you’ll take it.”

Hyde was impressed with Rodriguez’s outing.

“Awesome. I thought he probably could have gone a little further, and in a normal situation, he would have, but that inning was so long. That was one of the better outings he’s thrown here.”

He’s even more impressed with his team’s offense in the first two games.

“A bunch of guys doing a lot of great things there in that sixth innings, all the way down the line,” Hyde said. “Good baserunning, good at-bats. We’re competing at the plate.”

Left-handed reliever Cionel Pérez left the game with lower back discomfort after facing just two batters in the ninth. He’ll be reevaluated on Sunday, Hyde said.

Henderson and catcher Adley Rutschman received their Silver Slugger awards before Saturday’s game. Henderson then homered to center, and Rutschman followed with a single to right.

What about the bullpen? Hyde hasn’t used either Craig Kimbrel, his closer, or setup man Yennier Cano in the two blowouts, though Cano began to warm up in the ninth inning when Mike Baumann struggled after Pérez was injured.

“Those guys need to get off the mound and need to pitch,” Hyde said.

Often, managers will give closers work after several days of games that aren’t close.

“Be careful what you wish for because all of a sudden, now I’ve pitched them three out of four, and I want to give them some time. It’s a tough balance, but we’ve had other challenges in the ‘pen over the years,” Hyde said.

What about organization’s depth? On Friday night, baseball’s top prospect, 20-year-old Jackson Holliday hit a leadoff home run in the first inning for Triple-A Norfolk. He led off Saturday’s game with a double. With Holliday, and top prospects Heston Kjerstad, Coby Mayo, Connor Norby and Kyle Stowers at Triple-A, the Orioles have exceptional depth.

“You definitely want to have talent in Triple-A,” Hyde said. “You want to have depth. When it’s young prospect depth, it’s even better. Just because we have 26 guys right here that are here right now doesn’t mean this is the same 26 that’s going to be here a month from now or two months from now or the second half or starting playoff games or starting games that matter in September.

“Just because this is the way we’re starting doesn’t mean this how we’re going to finish. Injuries happen. Things happen along this long season that you want to have talented players at Triple-A. Fortunately for us, our Triple-A players are not as much veteran-type depth pieces, but young players that are really talented and performing at Triple-A, too. We feel good about where we are, organizationally especially at the upper levels from a position player depth standpoint, and let’s hope they continue to play well.”

What about injuries? Starting pitcher John Means will begin his rehab assignment at Norfolk on Sunday. He’s been held back after the elbow soreness that kept him out of last year’s Division Series against Texas.

“He’s just going to throw a couple of innings,” Hyde said. “It’s just going to be a buildup process from there with him, too.”

Pitchers are allowed 30 days of injury rehab assignments in the minors.

“I think we’re going to be monitoring very closely,” Hyde said. “He’s going to be throwing two innings his first time out, and it’s going to be close to 30 days. He’ll be around there.”

Starting pitcher Kyle Bradish, who is also on the 15-day injured list, is headed back to Sarasota along with closer Félix Bautista, who’ll miss the season after October’s Tommy John surgery.

“Continue to build,” Hyde said about Bradish. “Optimistic, but continue to build what he’s doing right now.”

What’s the word? “It’s fun watching us hit right now.”­-Hyde on the Orioles’ offense.

What does it mean? The Orioles are 2-0 to begin the season for the first time since 2021 when they started 3-0.

What’s next? The Orioles will face the Angels at 1:35 p.m. on Sunday. Tyler Wells will start against Reid Detmers.

Transaction: The Orioles removed right-hander Jacob Webb from the paternity list and optioned left-hander Nick Vespi to Triple-A Norfolk. Vespi might be on his way back after Pérez’s injury.

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