Expressing the difficulties of their ongoing rebuilding, the Orioles’ leadership has often pointed to not only the dungeon they had to climb, but also the roof they must reach as a member of the American League East. .
The arduous pursuit and contention that awaits the Orioles in 2022 was on display with the Tampa Bay Rays, the division’s reigning champions, on the opening weekend of the season, on their final path. completing a three-game sweep of Baltimore. Since sweeping the Rays in the club’s first series of 2020, the Orioles have led 2-27, skipping the last 15 matchups against Tampa Bay.
The Rays’ 18-1 record against Baltimore in 2021 goes a long way toward achieving a division with four teams winning at least 90 games. Meanwhile, the Orioles lost 108 games for a third full season in a row.
“Honestly, it’s just a focus for each of us to get better,” said Tyler Wells, who lost 8-0 on Sunday and allowed four runs in the second innings. “Right now, I think the end result is the least of our worries.
“We’re three games into the season, and it’s never going to tell the whole picture. I think there’s a lot more to this team than I did last year.”
This is certainly justified, and in all likelihood, it is statistics for the year the organization is progressing. Everywhere but Major Camden starts showing up in the yard, But it showed some signs at Tropicana Field this weekend.
The opposing team represents in many ways the ideal of rebuilding the Orioles. Despite the modest salary, the Rays produce endlessly talented players and teams. Their pitching staff is a diverse mix of hand angles, velocity and primary pitches. Position A balanced group of players allows for an ideal matchup against any opposing hand.
,Down the road,” manager Brandon Hyde said, “I’ll love that.
The center of Tampa Bay’s lineup is a home star who switches hits and once ranked as baseball’s top prospect, with a young, hard-throwing starter guiding its rotation. Hopefully the Orioles version of Vander Franco and Shane McClanahan – top prospects Adley Ratschman and Grayson Rodriguez – will be in Baltimore soon. But the greatness of the rays lies in their depth.
“They’ve been a dominant team in the game here for a while, and that’s because they have elite pitching and a balanced lineup and always defend well,” Hyde said. “It’s just a tough team to play for.”
The Orioles, to their credit, put up a fight in the first two games of the series, falling by a combined three runs before Sunday’s Rays lap. The Baltimore Batsmen finished the series with a franchise-record 37 strikeouts, missing more than a third of their swing efforts against the arms of the Tampa Bays.
“They have the clock,” said outfielder Austin Hays, describing how the Rays have pitchers who throw from a full collection of arm angles. “It’s a separate arm slot on either side. Every man who comes out gives you a different look. Braking balls are different, heater, speed. But outside of that, it’s just that they don’t leave a lot of balls in the middle. You don’t get too many mistakes. ,
In recent years, the same has not applied to the pitcher-faced Orioles. But the Rays’ hitters have been able to capitalize on pitchers’ top offerings as well. Francisco Mejia’s game-winning sacrifice was a product of Fly Friday being down and away George Lopez Changeup Airborne. The next day, Jordan Lyles threw Mejia a two-strike, high fastball where he wanted, and Mejia “beat me on the spot.” On Sunday, after Wales felt the only poor pitch out of 52 needed to receive five outs, Brandon Lowe scored a home run and finished his first major league debut.
“It’s a tough lineup,” Wells said. “They were the AL East champs last year. And honestly, every lineup in the AL East is like that. You have a bunch of guys who will keep fighting.”
The Orioles are trying to build a team that can do just that. In one weekend, he showed he had a long way to go.
What’s to come?
Orioles’ Camden Yards 30th Anniversary Celebration The formal will begin on Monday with the team’s home opener against the Milwaukee Brewers. Well, Baltimore area native Bruce Zimmerman gets his start on the mound, who turns out to be the Maryland-born Oriole who threw the first pitch of the year at the iconic ballpark.
It will have a different take on it as well, as this week’s series against Milwaukee and the New York Yankees will give players their first experience with Oriole Park. new left field wall, This season, the team pushed back the wall by about 30 feet, increasing the height of the wall by more than 5 feet to the stadium bowl. Outfielders will spend pregame Monday getting used to interesting new angles given the amount of time they’ve spent in Florida since its completion.
what was good
Sunday’s seventh inning spoiled it somewhat, but the Orioles’ bullpen – largely a mystery at first Tanner Scott and Cole Sulcer were traded to the Miami Marlins – Mostly given on weekends.
Before Tampa Bay’s late four-run surge, the Baltimore reliever had allowed one earned run in 11 1/3 innings. This success came largely from pitchers who were either not with the Orioles a year earlier or working in different roles than before.
After impressing in spring training, off-season waivers claim Brian Baker and Sionel Pérez had a strong start for the Oriol. Keegan Akin led the Orioles rookies in innings but generally struggled in rotation; He put three key innings behind Lyle, saying he might get used to entering relief later. First Look at Lopez effectively closer to the orioles There was a loss, but her velocity accelerated and she made weak contact. Felix Bautista’s first major league outing – on his mother’s birthday, no less – AL Rookie of the Year with strikeouts from two of last year’s top three finishers voted more than 1 1/3 scoreless innings.
This is a small sample in each case, but Hyde appears to have more velocity available than the manager of the Orioles. Along with this the results will certainly make his job easier.
What was not?
After hitting his 30th home run to become the first Oriol with a 30-30 season, center fielder Cedric Mullins ended the season quietly, a stretch Hyde excused as a slump within an excellent season.
Six months have passed since then, but Mullins has started 2022 at a slower pace than 2021, with spring training also riddled with conflicts in between. Mullins’ season began perhaps inauspiciously, as McClanahan smashed an elbow fastball to become the first Oriole to hit the season’s first pitch. He has since been dismissed in seven of his 12 plates, striking multiple times in each game. He was dismissed more than once in three consecutive games only once in 2021: 28–30 September, days after his 30th homer.
Throughout the season, Mullins has had 12 strikeouts and only one extra-base hit in his last 42 regular-season plate appearances, a relatively small sample. This spring, he hit the plate in a third of his 33 trips.
He returned in a single from a game-opening strikeout on Sunday and steals a second time the next. He has a lot of time to get back in form. After all, he only has 29 steals and 30 homers.
on the farm
With 2020 second-rounder Hudson Haskin’s three-homer on Sunday at Double-A Bowie and Rodriguez’s one-hit out in Triple-A on his maiden start, the focus here turns to Usniel Diaz. After hitting the ball hard in all areas in spring training, the centerpiece of a Manny Machado trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers is moving to Norfolk.
Diaz, 25, hit home twice in five games on Thursday amid four extra base hits. That too has gone five times, reducing .389/.500/.833. Given how their 2021 season turned out – full of injuries and, when healthy, immense struggle – the Orioles will likely want to see a long stretch of success before considering promoting the former top prospect to the biggie. But he is certainly making a good start towards that endeavour.