What they're saying about Jackson Holliday's promotion and Orioles' 7-1 win over Red Sox - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

What they’re saying about Jackson Holliday’s promotion and Orioles’ 7-1 win over Red Sox

Photo Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

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BOSTON—What about Jackson Holliday’s callup? After disappointing fans with their puzzling decision to demote Jackson Holliday after his strong play in spring training, the Orioles have decided to call him up to the major league club. The 20-year-old Holliday, the top prospect in baseball, is expected to be in the Orioles’ starting lineup at second base on Wednesday night when they play the Boston Red Sox.

Holliday was 1-for-4 for Triple-A Norfolk in their 5-2 loss to Scranton/Wilkes Barre on Tuesday. He was batting .333 with two home runs and nine RBIs in 10 games with a 1.077 OPS at Norfolk.

A corresponding roster move must be made to add Holliday, and he will be placed on the 40-man roster.

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On March 22nd, the Orioles reassigned Holliday to the minor leagues after he had appeared to make the Opening Day roster based on his play in spring training.

Executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias, who had said Holliday would have every chance to make the team at the start of the season, said Holliday, a longtime shortstop, needed more time to adjust to second base and hit against quality left-handed hitting when he was sent to minor league camp.

Holliday said recently that he understood the Orioles’ decision to start him in Triple-A, where he led off and played second base.

“I think having a year under my belt is very helpful,” Holliday told The Virginian-Pilot, which covers Norfolk. “And to be able to know that, hopefully, I only have one stop to make this year and one move, and that’s my goal, is to be in the big leagues as quick as possible.”

What happened in Orioles’ Tuesday win? Oriole starter Corbin Burnes allowed a run on two hits — both in the first inning — in seven sterling innings, and leftfielder Colton Cowser delivered four RBIs to lead the Orioles to a 7-1 win over the Red Sox in Boston’s home opener.

Burnes gave up a home run to Tyler O’Neill and a single to Triston Casas in the first. After that, he allowed just two more baserunners, on walks. He retired his final 12 batters and has pitched like the ace the Orioles need at the top of their starting rotation.

Cowser, starting in place of the struggling Austin Hays, had two opposite-field doubles. Shortstop Gunnar Henderson, centerfielder Cedric Mullins and catcher Adley Rutschman also had two hit games.

“Great to see some of our guys get multiple-hit games,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Guys have been a little frustrated and overtrying at times.”

The Orioles’ seven runs and 13 hits were the most since their second game of the season, when they scored 13,  on March 30th.

“I love the tack-on runs,” Hyde said. “That’s something we’ve talked a lot about, something we can get definitely better from last year, making it a little bit easier on ourselves later in the game”.

What about Burnes’ dominance? Even though Burnes turned in his most dominant performance in his three starts and lowered his earned-run average to 1.93, it was harder than he made it look.

“It took me until about the third inning for me to feel comfortable out there,” Burnes said. “Once we did, Adley did a great job behind the plate, mixing it up. Got a lot of weak contact. It was good to get through seven today and good to get a win today.”

It was Burnes’ first start at Fenway Park after six seasons in Milwaukee, but he approaches each start the same way.

“Really shouldn’t have any effect on me,” Burnes said. “I’m going out there and going through my process as I would any other time. For whatever reason, today just took me 25, 30 pitches to get in that groove. Ideally, you’d like to figure it out a little bit before that. We were fortunate enough to make barely enough pitches to get through those pitches before we locked it in.

‘Your job is to get outs. You’d like to get out there and punch two or three guys out there in every inning and kind of roll with the great stuff every time, but it doesn’t roll that way. Today when you’ve got your B, B-minus stuff, you’ve got to go out there and figure it out and grind through it.”

Hyde thought Burnes, who struck out six, was at the top of his game once he found his command.

“Wow, that was really good. Kind of a tough start for him there,” Hyde said. “He was in total command, pitching in a tight game, punched out a bunch.”

What about Cowser’s breakout?-Last season, Cowser had seven hits and four RBIs in 26 games. With his two doubles and four RBIs, he has seven hits and five RBIs in his first nine games.

“I feel like this year going about it a lot better than I did last year,” Cowser said. “I think that was one of the benefits of having those struggles last year was understanding and figuring out what my role was. This year, understanding that and being the best that I can at doing that and staying ready whenever I’m called upon.”

“Big hits for us early in the game,” Hyde said. “He’s walking around a little differently. There’s more confidence there.”

What about the long starts? No Oriole starter has thrown fewer than five innings in the team’s first 10 games.

“We’ve had good starts. I think our bullpen has done a good job,” Hyde said before the game. “The majority of the games, we had a chance to win. Just haven’t gotten a big hit in a few of the games. Still really early. We’re still above .500. Haven’t played our best offensive baseball. So far, we’re pitching really well and giving us a chance on a nightly basis.”

What about the ninth inning? The Orioles had a six-run lead heading into the bottom of the ninth. Closer Craig Kimbrel was warming up, but Hyde used Jacob Webb for the ninth. On Sunday in Pittsburgh, Yennier Cano had a rough ninth inning as the Orioles gave up the tying and winning runs to the Pirates. Hyde wasn’t going to pitch Kimbrel, who had already worked on Friday and Saturday.

“The ninth inning is a different animal altogether,” Hyde said. “The two innings are just different, the pressure, the stress, a lot of times there’s not going to be relief behind you. Teams can load up the ninth inning lineup-wise how they want to with  nothing to lose at the end. Teams play a little bit differently offensive in the ninth inning. It’s a little different mentality there.”

What about the pitch clock? Burnes is active in the Players Association, and he’s one of those who has expressed his opposition to lowering the time between pitches from 20 to 18 seconds with runners on base. The Players Association has attributed the increased number of pitchers’ injuries to the further reduction.

“It’s unfortunate. You never want to see anyone get hurt,” Burnes said. “Especially at the rate guys are going down right now. I think we’ve got a problem in our game. MLB is going to tell you it’s not pitch-clock related. I would argue that injuries, long-term injuries, are up the last two years, and the rate we’re having injuries this year is like nothing we’ve seen before.

“There’s a problem. It’s got to be fixed. You hate to see guys go down. A lot of these are career-changing injuries for guys.”

What about Bradish? Starting right-handed pitcher Kyle Bradish is joining High-A Aberdeen and will begin his rehab assignment soon. Bradish is on the 15-day injured list with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.

What’s the word? “That’s number one starter stuff.”-Hyde on Burnes’ performance

What does it mean? Unlike the previous six games that were played in less than ideal conditions, it was a beautiful day for baseball with the game -ime temperature at 57 degrees.

“We ran into a string of good starting pitchers,” Cowser said. “You can’t give them all the credit. We haven’t been able to string a lot of quality at-bats in a row, and today we were able to move that train a little bit, and string a couple in a row, and I think that’s how you have a productive offense.”

What’s the stat of the day? 3. Left-handed relief pitcher Danny Coulombe struck out the side in the eighth. He’s given up one hit in five scoreless innings, striking out eight.

“That was really good today,” Hyde said. “He’s been unbelievable for two years, second year now. I’ve never put him in easy spots. He seems to always come through.”

What’s next? Cole Irvin (0-1, 7.20) will start for the Orioles in the second game of the three-game series against the Red Sox on Wednesday night at 7:10. Boston will pitch Kutter Crawford (0-0. 0.84)

Call for questions: I’ll be answering at least one question every weekday. Send yours to: [email protected]

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