Quick Links

Orioles lose 1-0 in 13 innings as pitcher is ejected


Orioles lose 1-0 in 13 innings as pitcher is ejected

MIAMI – What was stranger? Mike Wright pitching brilliantly for the second straight time? Or Oliver Drake throwing three scoreless innings in his major league debut?

No, it was Brian Matusz getting ejected from the game in the 12th inning for having a foreign substance on his arm.

T.J. McFarland, who replaced Matusz allowed a bases-loaded single to Martin Prado in the 13th as the Miami Marlins beat the Orioles 1-0 before 21,356 at Marlins Park on Saturday night.

Matusz entered the game in the 12th and got the first two outs, and at the request of Marlins manager Dan Jennings, was examined by the umpires.

Crew chief Paul Emmel summoned manager Buck Showalter to the mound, and Matusz was removed from the game. McFarland got the third out in the 12th.

It came in the same week that Milwaukee’s Will Smith was suspended for eight games for having a foreign substance on his arm.

McFarland (0-1) allowed a leadoff walk to Adeiny Hechavarria in the 13th. McFarland struck out Carter Capps (1-0) and Dee Gordon. Ozuna singled, and Giancarlo Stanton was walked intentionally. Prado drove a ball to center, and the Orioles (19-21) had a painful defeat.

"It's horrible. For me, it kills me because I know everybody out there did everything they could to win today and we played one hell of a game. That's the worst part for me. It hurts that I wasn't able to come through for the team. But we've got a game tomorrow and we can finish out the series with a win and put this one past us. But yeah, this is a tough one,” McFarland said.

Wright pitched seven shutout innings, allowing just three hits. In his first two starts, Wright has given up just five hits in 14 1/3 innings.

That may be forgotten because of Matusz’s ejection. So might Drake, who after eight seasons of toiling in the minor leagues was called up on Saturday and delivered three scoreless innings.

Wright gave the Orioles a chance to win, but they had nine hits—and just two in the last seven innings against five Miami (17-27) relievers.

Before the game, Wright relaxed in the dugout, his earbuds on, reading his Harry Potter book. He ended up walking three, but two were intentional and hitting a batter. He struck out four in his seven scoreless.

“That’s what everybody’s striving for, so for me to get that really big. I wish we could have pulled out with a win. That’s the most important thing regardless of me going scoreless or not,” Wright said.

Drake allowed two hits in three scoreless innings in his debut. His highlight was covering home plate when a pitch to Marcell Ozuna ended up in the dirt just in front of home plate.

Caleb Joseph recovered the ball, and Drake scrambled to tag Hechevarria.

“It was kind of a blur. I just kind of saw the ball in the dirt. Caleb’s great. You have a 100 percent faith in him when you’re throwing a splitter down. Blocked it, kept it close and also saw the guy taking off from third, and I knew I had to get to the plate and got the tag on it,” Drake said.

Drake’s outing helped a tired Orioles bullpen which may more reinforcement because of a possible Matusz suspension.

“It was awesome. I’ve been dreaming of getting in these games ever since I was a little kid and so, I was thrilled when they told me get going, and I was in the game. I just went out there and did what I had to do to get them out and put up a zero,” Drake said
Wright also had his first major league hit, a sixth inning single that nearly scored Travis Snider, but he was thrown out at the plate.
“That was big. I was pretty excited running down to first. I felt for sure we were going to score, and unluckily, he made a really good throw, and they made a really good play to block him from scoring,” Wright said.

The Marlins broke an eight-game losing streak, five under new manager Dan Jennings.

Manny Machado, Jimmy Paredes and Travis Snider each had two hits. Chris Davis was hitless in six at-bats and struck out four times. He has 61 in 39 games.

Wright reflected on the unlikeliness of what he had just seen.

“Baseball’s a crazy game. I think everyone is going for a shutout every time. I would believe that part. Drake’s got really, really good stuff, so I definitely believe that part. It [stinks] what happens to Matusz. I didn’t see much. It [stinks] that it happened and he got ejected, but we’ll come back out tomorrow and try to be better,” Wright said.

MORE ORIOLES: Orioles pitcher ejected for foreign substance on arm

Quick Links

Mike Elias expects big things from Adley Rutschman in 2020 and beyond

USA Today Sports Images

Mike Elias expects big things from Adley Rutschman in 2020 and beyond

As excited as Orioles fans are for the future of the franchise, and as desperate as they are for any glimpses of that future in the form of their top prospects, it doesn’t guarantee they’ll see Adley Rutschman in the big leagues any time soon.

The number one overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, Rutschman is one of the most highly-touted prospects to enter the draft in years, and as an experienced college catcher, is the prototype of a fast-moving player through the farm system.

According to the man tasked with ultimately making those types of timeline-based decisions, Rutschman will play the biggest role in determining how quickly he advances.

“Well it’s his first full season in pro ball, so it’s hard to put too much expectation on that,” General Manager Mike Elias cautioned to NBC Sports Washington when asked about the hype surrounding his first-ever draft pick. “It’s about starting in A-ball, or High-A, or wherever we decide to start him, and having success. And once he has success, we’ll get him moving.”

Elias told reporters at the Winter Meetings that Rustchman would have a chance to play with the big league club at Spring Training next season, but that will be more about the learning experience and less about a true opportunity to break camp with the team.

It’s hard to imagine a player like Rutschman not having success. He showed flashes of his talent across three lower levels of the Orioles’ minor league system after signing last summer, ultimately landing with the Delmarva Shorebirds.

The skills necessary for success, both on and off the field, were readily apparent to Elias and the Orioles front office throughout the draft process.

They say timing is everything, and Elias considers the Orioles very lucky to have earned the top pick in a year with a player like Rutschman.

“I think we were very fortunate that we had the number one pick in a year when Adley Rutschman was in the draft,” he said while praising the future face of the franchise. “He fits the type of player that we’re looking for perfectly, being an impact hitter but also a really good defensive catcher and team leader type. So it’s a perfect guy to sort of kick off this whole era of our rebuild, and I think it’s going to be fun seeing what he does in our minor league affiliates this year.”

Of course, Rutschman isn’t the only young player fans will be keying in on this season. Austin Hays is one of the more exciting young players in the organization, and he will enter Spring Training as the favorite for the everyday job in centerfield. If the gifted outfielder can stay healthy, he will be given every opportunity to solidify himself as the centerfielder of the future.

“He’s what we call in the scouting parlance ‘tooled out’,” Elias described when asked about Hays’ highlight-reel plays late in the 2019 season. “I mean he can run, he can really throw, he’s got power, all the physical capabilities. And he’s shown that when he’s healthy he can hit at the Major League level too.”

Of course, injuries have been the one thing that can stop Hays early in his promising career. 

“Health has been the issue for him,” Elias continued. “He’s had two injury-plagued seasons in a row, but when he came up at the end of last season he was playing with energy, he was healthy. So that’s all we want to see for him, but I think he’s an impact centerfielder and a huge part of our next good team.”

The next good Orioles team is still a few years away, but the pieces are starting to come into place. Not every top prospect will pan out -- there’s no such thing as a sure thing when it comes to minor league players -- but the Orioles are stocking the organization with talented, hard-working players.

Looking ahead to another long season in 2020, Orioles fans will have to look beyond the win-loss column to find signs of hope. If things go according to Mike Elias’ plan, Rustchman and Hays should provide plenty of moments worth getting excited.

Rutschman’s time is coming. For Hays, the future is now. For both, the eyes of Baltimore are upon them as the franchise enters the next era of Orioles baseball.


Quick Links

Orioles and Scott Boras have met to discuss how Chris Davis can improve

Orioles and Scott Boras have met to discuss how Chris Davis can improve

When the Orioles signed Chris Davis to a team-record $161 million deal ahead of the 2016 season, they were expecting the left-handed slugger to be a perennial candidate for the league lead in home runs while being a versatile defender at multiple positions.

Instead, Davis has been a black hole in the lineup. No one in the majors has more strikeouts than Davis since the start of that contract, his home run totals have fallen every year and he’s played almost exclusively first base and designated hitter.

“We’re trying everything we can,” Orioles GM Mike Elias told NBC Sports Washington’s Todd Dybas. “He’s been struggling now for years and there are a lot of reasons for that and we continue to look into it. But the reality is, as you said, he is under contract and it’s something not to take lightly and because of that we’re going to be focused on getting the most out of him that we can. But it’s a very frustrating situation for him and for us.”

At his annual Winter Meetings impromptu press conference, Davis’ agent Scott Boras told reporters that he’s spoken with Orioles officials about how they can help the first baseman improve his production next season.

Davis, who spends his offseasons in Dallas, is reportedly not interested in attending a hitting school. Both Boras and the Orioles are hoping to come up with a different approach that will help him contribute to the lineup next season.

Baltimore still has Davis under contract for three more seasons, but the deferred money in his contract has the team paying him until 2037.