Norby hitless in debut as Orioles power past Blue Jays, 7-2; Hays hits 2 of 4 homers; Rodriguez's solid start - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

Norby hitless in debut as Orioles power past Blue Jays, 7-2; Hays hits 2 of 4 homers; Rodriguez’s solid start

Photo Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

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When the Orioles began their season, infielders Jackson Holliday, Coby Mayo and Connor Norby and outfielders Heston Kjerstad and Kyle Stowers were all at Triple-A Norfolk despite some impressive spring training numbers.

The Orioles’ 26-man roster was deep, and those players could play regularly at Norfolk waiting for a need to arise in Baltimore.

Fifty-eight games into the season, four of those five players, all except Mayo, who’s on the injured list with a fractured rib, have played for the Orioles.

Ten games into the season, Holliday had his loud debut, and after going just 2-for-34 (.059), he was back in Norfolk before the end of April.

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Kjerstad got a call after Austin Hays went on the 10-day injured list with a strained left calf muscle, and he didn’t play much, going just 2-for-14 (.143) in seven games before he was returned to the Tides, too.

Stowers hasn’t played regularly since his May 13th recall when he replaced Kjerstad on the roster. But he’s played well, going 8-for-22 (.364) with six RBIs, four of them on May 27th, in 11 games.

When second baseman Jorge Mateo went on the 7-day concussion injured list on Monday, the Orioles chose to give Norby a chance, and in his major league debut, he was hitless in three at-bats in the Orioles’ 7-2 win over Toronto.

The Orioles are so deep that unless there are multiple injuries and perhaps some trades, it seems unlikely that all five of these highly regarded players will be together in Baltimore this season.

Had Mayo not been injured, perhaps he would have gotten the call. He could have played third base while Ramón Urías and Jordan Westburg played second.

Mayo showed off authentic power both in spring training and for the Tides before his injury in mid-May. He’s hitting .291 with a .964 OPS, 13 home runs and 37 RBIs.

Meanwhile, Kjerstad is hitting .329 with 14 homers and 46 RBIs and a 1.102 OPS. Holliday, who had a rough few weeks after his return to the Tides, heated up this past week and is back up to .283 with a .923 OPS.

While Holliday was with the Orioles, he struck out 18 times and walked only twice and at Norfolk, he has 44 strikeouts and 44 walks.

Who knows if Norby will stay with the Orioles whenever Mateo comes off the concussion injured list. But it does again demonstrate the excellent choices the team has among position players when it comes to finding replacements for injured players.

With the trade deadline coming up on July 30th, you may hear Norby’s name mentioned as a trade chip. Perhaps in his first stint with the Orioles, he can prove himself so valuable that he’s deemed untouchable as presumably some of his teammates are.

What happened? Austin Hays hit his first two home runs of season, Anthony Santander hit a two-run shot and Ramón Urías added a late homer in the 7-2 win over the Blue Jays. The four home runs equal a season high.

The Orioles (38-20) have won nine of their last 11 and are 2 ½ games behind the Yankees, who have won five straight, in the American League East.

Oriole starter Grayson Rodriguez (6-2) allowed two runs, one unearned, on seven hits in 6 2/3 innings, striking out four and walking none.

How hot is Hays? Hays was hitting .111 when he returned from the injured list and hadn’t homered since last September 19th. After his two-homer game, Hays is up to .205.

While his longtime friend and teammate Cedric Mullins continues to struggle and didn’t play in Monday night’s game, Hays has been hitting better and should get more opportunities to play.

How did Norby do in his debut? Norby struck out in his first two at-bats against former Oriole Kevin Gausman and flied to left in the seventh.

He was removed for Urías after his third at-bat. Urías played third, where he made a sensational diving stop of a shot by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the eighth, and Westburg moved to second. Urías hit his homer in the top of the ninth for the Orioles’ final run.

How was Rodriguez? Rodriguez threw a season-high 6 2/3 innings and didn’t walk a batter for the first time this season.

It was a workmanlike, if unspectacular, effort and with Corbin Burnes scheduled to start on Tuesday night, could give the Orioles two solid starts to begin the four-game series against the Blue Jays.

What does it mean? The Orioles have started off their stretch of 29 games in 30 days with wins in three of four games. While their first two opponents, Tampa Bay and Toronto, are having disappointing seasons, the Orioles are nearing a stretch where they must play four of the top teams in baseball this month.

From June 11th-June 26th, 12 of their 15 games are against Atlanta, Philadelphia, the Yankees and Cleveland.

What’s the stat of the day? 39. Norby was the 39th player used by the Orioles this season.

What’s next? Corbin Burnes (5-3, 2.35) will start for the Orioles on Tuesday night at 7:07. The Blue Jays haven’t named their starter.

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

 

 

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