A week before the Orioles closed out the Milwaukee Brewers in their home opener on Monday, two pitchers crucial to the win were among those executive vice presidents and general manager. Mike Elias said 2022 would either need to be “stepped up” Or risk that the Orioles “go ahead” from them.
Those who have got major league opportunities so far have accepted the challenge.
In the wake of Elias’ comments about a group of pitchers in their mid-20s who were once among the organization’s top prospects, Keegan Akin, Bruce Zimmerman and Mike Baumann combined with 9 1/3 scoreless innings. The regular season has started. Zimmerman, who grew up in Ellicott City and became First Maryland-born pitcher to start home opener At Camden Yards, combined with Bauman to record 19 of the 27 needed for the Orioles Shutdown of current National League Central champions, Two days earlier, Akin played three unscored innings of relief, throwing 27 of his 31 pitches for strike and generating a career-high swing strike percentage.
“We can all build confidence from this,” Baumann said. “We’re gonna push each other to keep doing this. It’s great to be able to push each other. We’re never leaving the country again.”
Perhaps at least one of those three may have produced a “real cemented breakout”, with Elias noting that the Orioles have yet to receive one from a group that featured them, Dean Kramer, Jack Lowther and – although Elias did Didn’t name him specifically because he already was. Deposed from the major league camp – Alexander Wells, who was recalled on Monday after Kramer was on his 10-day injured list, faced a warm-up to enter Sunday’s game with a tense left oblique. Lothar was one of the last players to be cut from major league spring training.
All those pitchers — none of whom acquired Alias — spent time in the majors last year, with Zimmermann’s 5.04 ERA being the best of them all.
“We still have high hopes for them and we want some of them to click this year because if they don’t it will be tough and we have to go to other people,” Elias said last week.
Two of the Orioles’ top three pitching prospects, Grayson Rodriguez and Kyle Bradish, are at Triple-A Norfolk, while left-hander, DL Hall, is being played at a slower pace due to a stress fracture in his pitching elbow. It is expected that all three will reach the Major at some point this year.
But Akin, Zimmerman, and Bauman make a strong early impression that they’ll deserve a role when chances come. Akin and Baumann showed the ability to thrive in the bullpen, while Zimmermann, the only one in the group to secure a rotation spot, played four scoreless innings, more than enough to stay in that role.
“It was everything I could have asked for more,” Zimmerman said.
Orioles manager Brandon Hyde was pleased with how both Zimmerman and Bauman handled the atmosphere, pitching in front of a sold-out Camden Yards crowd for the first time. Zimmermann gave a loud shout followed by an innings-ending strikeout in the second and loaded bases in the third, while Baumann shook his first batsman to fire in a 2 1/3 shutout innings while the bar -Bar reached 98 mph with his fastball. ,
“I’m impressed by both of those young people,” Hyde said. “I was worried that Zim and Mike might get a little too excited. I think Mike was there when he first got out there, but then he really settled down, and both guys handled it very well.
Of course, they will have to maintain it, but the early returns have been strong. Wells could very well stand a chance for the trend to continue on Tuesday, with Baltimore yet to announce who will start. Lothar could have been a substitute for the call-up if he had not started for Norfolk on Sunday.
Kramer showed better confidence and stuff in spring training and may have displayed both at the start of the season on Sunday if not for injury, which Hyde said will keep him out for at least a month.
Perhaps, when he returns, Kramer will be able to make a new first impression in the form of Akin, Zimmerman, and Bauman.
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