What they're saying about Rodriguez's start, Orioles' struggles at plate in 8-3 loss to Red Sox - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

What they’re saying about Rodriguez’s start, Orioles’ struggles at plate in 8-3 loss to Red Sox

Photo Credit: Mitch Stringer USA TODAY Sports

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BALTIMORE—What happened? Grayson Rodriguez allowed four runs, two in the first, two in the second, and though he pitched well after that, the Orioles lost to the Boston Red Sox, 8-3, on Tuesday night.

The Orioles scored three runs in the bottom of the first on an infield single by Coltn Cowser and a two-run double by Jordan Westburg to take a 3-2 lead, but they didn’t score again.

Cionel Pérez allowed a run in the eighth, and Keegan Akin gave up three in the ninth.

Rodriguez allowed six of his seven hits in the first two innings.

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“Any time you give up four runs, you’re pretty disappointed about that, he said. “I was glad I was able to go six innings, but I should have done a better job of keeping my team in the game.”

Rafael Devers had four hits, three singles and a triple. Wilyer Abreu, Rodriguez’s second batter, homered.

“It was just a good day at the plate for them,” Rodriguez said.

What went wrong for Rodriguez? It was just the second poor start of the year for Rodriguez. On April 23rd, he allowed seven runs on 11 hits in 4 1/3 innings.

“I thought he did a great job of settling down after the second inning,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “He got hit hard in the first couple of innings. He was leaving some balls in the middle part of the plate. They hit some balls hard against him, but I thought he made some good adjustments there after the second inning and the next four were outstanding.”

“Just tried to limit damage. That was the big thing tonight,” Rodriguez said. “Two runs in the first, two runs in the second, could have gone south really quick, just tried to get back out there, get quick outs, save pitches in order to go deep in the ballgame.”

Hyde believes Rodriguez’s experience showed on a difficult night.

“That’s one of the strides he’s made so far, kind of quick adjustments, not letting it snowball on him,” Hyde said. “They were on him pretty good, first time through the order especially. Did a great job, like in the third inning of locating a little bit better, utilizing his changeup a little bit more, getting his fastball in the right spots. Four really good innings after the first two weren’t so good.”

What was wrong with Orioles’ offense? The Orioles were 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position and didn’t capitalize on their only true chance after the first inning.

In the sixth inning, The Orioles had the bases loaded with none out. Reliever Brennan Bernardino, who walked Ryan Mountcastle, his first batter, struck out Austin Hays, got Jorge Mateo to hit into a force and struck out Gunnar Henderson.

“Give Bernardino credit. He’s been having a heck of a year and he did a great job against us,” Hyde said. “Mounty had a great at-bat and unfortunately we didn’t score. He got the next three guys out. With how good their bullpen is, and you’re down one in a bases-loaded spot, you feel pretty good about our offense.”

Anthony Santander led off the sixth with a single and was forced out at home on Mateo’s tapper.

“That’s just the way it goes sometimes,” Santander said through an interpreter. “Unfortunately, we just didn’t get the job done on that end tonight.”

What’s wrong with Akin? Akin has allowed seven runs on five hits and four walks in his last three appearances, raising his earned-run average from 2.66 to 4.62.

Hyde was unusually critical of Akin’s performance against left-handed hitters last Saturday in Chicago, but was more measured after he allowed three runs in the ninth on Romy Gonzalez’s sacrifice fly and Rob Refsnyder’s two-run home run.

“Got hit, walked the number nine hitter, just didn’t have his command tonight,” Hyde said.

Was Westburg hurt? Westburg was hit in his right hand by a pitch in the sixth inning. Hyde and athletic trainer Mark Shires were with him for a few minutes to make certain he was OK, and he remained in the game.

“Tender spot in his hand/wrist area,” Hyde said. “They’re getting him checked out right now and hoping he’s OK.”

How about Henderson’s bat flips? Henderson leads the Orioles with 27 walks, by far the most on the team. Recently, he’s punctuated them with a cocky bat flip.

“I have noticed it. He’s almost hit me a couple of times,” Hyde said. “Maybe he’s mad at me. It’s an aggressive walk. I haven’t asked him if it’s irritation. I’m not sure what it is. I like it. Anytime he can get on base, he makes stuff happen. It’s definitely an unusual bat toss after a walk. I had to move my feet a couple of days ago on one. It might have stuck to his batting glove when he tossed it.”

What’s the word? “The fastball helped me tremendously. It got me through that outing. I think if I didn’t have it today, I think it would have been a lot shorter, a lot worse of an outing.”-Rodriguez on his start.

What does it mean? The Orioles are hoping that Rodriguez’s final four innings will help him prevent rough starts in the future. With no long man on the staff, if Rodriguez hadn’t been able to complete six, it could have caused issues.

What’s the stat of the day? The Orioles are 11-5 in games decided by five or more runs.

What’s going on in the minor leagues? Second baseman Jackson Holliday hit a leadoff home run in Triple-A Norfolk’s 4-2 loss to Gwinnett Chayce McDermott (1-3) allowed three runs on seven hits in four innings, striking out eight and walking three.

Kyle Brnovich (3-1) allowed one run on four hits in five innings, and first baseman TT Bowens hit his fifth home run in Double-A Bowie’s 10-2 win over Richmond.

Shortstop Aron Estrada had three hits, including his second home run, in Single-A Delmarva’s 6-5 loss to Carolina.

What’s next? Corbin Burnes (4-2, 2.80) will face Kutter Crawford (2-3, 2.89) on Wednesday night at 6:35.

Call for questions: Each weekday, I’ll be answering at least one Orioles’ question. Please send yours to: [email protected]

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