What they're saying about Holliday's debut in Orioles' 7-5 win over Red Sox - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

What they’re saying about Holliday’s debut in Orioles’ 7-5 win over Red Sox

Photo Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports


BOSTON—What happened? Jackson Holliday was hitless in four at-bats in his major league debut in the Orioles’ 7-5 win over the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday night.

Holliday struck out swinging in the third inning, hit into a force play in the fifth, and was credited with his first RBI on an infield out when Colton Cowser scored. He also struck out in the seventh.

“Obviously, I would have liked to have gotten a few hits, but the overall experience was pretty incredible tonight,” Holliday said. “To go out there and win and have an RBI, it’s pretty awesome just to be here.”

In the third inning with Jarren Duran on first, Holliday tracked the pop fly that Tyler O’Neill hit into shallow center field. His back to the infield, Holliday called for the ball, but it fell in front of him, and Duran scored all the way from first.

“I would have liked to have made the play,” Holliday said. “It was a tough one, but it’s good experience, right? It’s going to happen again. Just to learn from that and not let it happen again is my takeaway.”

What about the comeback? The Orioles spotted the Red Sox a five-run lead, but they scored three runs in the sixth on a two-run double by Colton Cowser and Holliday’s infield out.

In a sloppy seventh, they scored four runs. Chris Martin walked Ryan Mountcastle, threw two wild pitches, Connor Wong was charged with a passed ball and catcher’s interference and Jordan Westburg hit a three-run home run.

“You never know with that big old wall in left,” Westburg said. “I felt really good. I thought I had a shot. I’m glad it went over.”

Westburg’s homer and Ryan O’Hearn’s single were the only two hits in that wild inning.

“A resilient inning for us offensively,” Westburg said. “A couple of things go our way that we can’t control. We stuck with it and came back.”

How did Holliday enjoy it? “Just to compete against the guys that I’ve watched on TV for so long,” Holliday said. “To see them out there, looking around, the Monster and all the people, they’re singing the songs. It was a really cool experience.”

Was Holliday nervous? Before the game, Holliday said he expected to be more excited than anything.

“I wasn’t very nervous,” he said. “My results weren’t what I liked, but I wasn’t nervous. I felt comfortable on defense. I felt comfortable at the plate. I took some good swings. I wasn’t able to capitalize on some.”

What did Hyde think? “It was fun to watch him make his debut,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “It’s always a special moment. He drove in a big run for us, so contributed that way. I’m sure to be 20 years old and go through the kind of pressure, the buildup and all the stuff he had to go through today, I bet he’s probably glad it’s over and relieved and looking forward to playing tomorrow.”

What did his teammates think? In Fenway Park, Holliday was placed in a row with Cowser, Westburg, Gunnar Henderson and Adley Rutschman, all homegrown prospects who were in the lineup.

“There’s not a more excited stretch of guys in the clubhouse right now,” Westburg said. “”We’re all smiles today. We’re just trying to keep him level, but he’s so mature he handled it really well.

“I didn’t tell him anything before the game … He was the same person I saw in spring training. I know in spring training he might have been nervous for those games a little bit, but it didn’t faze him. That speaks to his maturity, his confidence and his own game. It helps when you’ve been around a ballpark your whole life. He knows what to expect.”

Oriole starter Cole Irvin allowed five runs in five innings. Years from now, he may not remember his stat line, but he should remember he started in Holliday’s first game.

“I’m excited for him. I’m glad he’s here. He’s going to be good for us,” Irvin said. “He’s certainly been swinging the bat for us in Triple-A. We’re excited to have him here. He’s a great player.”

What did dad think? Holliday’s father, Matt, a longtime major leaguer, and several family members were on hand and had seats by the Orioles’ dugout.

“You get a chance to watch your kids pursue their passion,” Matt Holliday said. “He’s wanted to do this as long as I can remember, so it’s always more fulfilling to watch your kids achieve things than yourself. He plays with a lot of joy and I enjoy watching him.”

What will the infield look like? “Right now, Gunnar’s going to play the majority at short, Jackson will play the majority at second,” Hyde said.

“That moves Westy to third base in a more permanent role. But we’re also going to mix and match, and [Ramón] Urías is going to play. Urías won the Gold Glove two years ago. He’s one of the best third basemen defensively in the league. So we’re going to be playing a little bit of everybody. I think how it looks tonight is probably going to be how we’re going to go for a while the majority of nights. But a lot of things can happen over the course of a season.”

What does it mean? After a lengthy pregame media session, little sleep and having his family a few feet from the field, Holliday got his first big league game out of the way, and Thursday will feel much more normal. 

What’s the stat of the day? According to MLB.com, Holliday is the fourth-youngest player in Orioles history to have an RBI in their debut. Only Brooks Robinson (18 years, 122 days on September 17th, 1955), Andy Etchebarren (19 years, 98 days on September 26th, 1962) and Ron Hansen (20 years, 10 days on April 15th, 1958) were younger.

What about the minors? Third baseman Coby Mayo had two hits and drove in a run in Triple-A Norfolk’s 7-3 loss to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Seth Johnson allowed two runs on three hits, walking four in two innings, in Double-A Bowie’s 8-0 loss to Hartford.

Second baseman Travis Josenberger had three hits in High-A Aberdeen’s 6-2 loss to Wilmington.

Designated hitter Douglas Hodo hit a two-run home run in Single-A Delmarva’s 9-5 loss to Salem.

What’s next? The Orioles and Boston Red Sox will play the final game of their three-game series on Thursday night at 7:10. Grayson Rodriguez (2-0, 2.19) will face Garrett Whitlock (1-0, 0.96).

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

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