The Baltimore Orioles need to get some pop in their bats, and maybe warmer temperatures will help them heat up.
They hit three home runs Saturday while beating the Cleveland Guardians, setting up Sunday afternoon’s rubber game of the three-game set in Baltimore.
“It warms up, the ball starts to jump,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “We kind of knew that was going to happen. The lack of home runs early, I think the weather played a big part of that. Now the ball is carrying.”
Still, that’s not going to solve everything for the Orioles, who won 5-4 in the second game of the series despite managing just four hits. All of Baltimore’s runs came on the homers.
The Guardians, meanwhile, had a four-game winning streak stopped.
Cleveland second baseman Andres Gimenez launched his sixth home run of the season on Saturday, his second in four games.
“I just think he has got a year under his belt and knows that he belongs,” Guardians manager Terry Francona said. “When things don’t go right, he knows just stay with the program.”
Across their past dozen games, the Orioles haven’t won consecutive games, something they will aim to achieve Sunday.
Baltimore will have rookie catcher Adley Rutschman back in the lineup after he was off Saturday for a scheduled rest day. Through 12 games, the overall No. 1 draft pick from 2019 is batting .149.
“He just has to get over the early stage of being a major league player,” Hyde said. “It’s not easy. I just think support, that’s what we’re going to do, and that’s what we’re here for.”
Despite the Orioles’ offensive difficulties, Trey Mancini has reached base safely in 27 of his last 28 games.
Cleveland right-hander Zach Plesac (1-4, 4.93 ERA) is to make the start on Sunday. He hasn’t recorded a victory since April 21, going 0-3 with a 6.82 ERA in his past six starts.
Still, he had one of his sharpest outings on Monday in a six-inning start against the Kanas City Royals, allowing just one run on five hits. He didn’t issue a walk, the first time that happened since his opening assignment of the season.
In Plesac’s lone career outing against the Orioles, he was shelled for seven runs in 3 2/3 innings while taking a loss in June 2019 at Baltimore.
The Orioles hadn’t announced a starting pitcher, with Hyde suggesting that information would be revealed in the morning a few hours before the first pitch. A reliever could take that role for a day.
It was largely a bullpen day Saturday for Baltimore’s staff, with five pitchers used and Hyde limiting starter Tyler Wells to four innings by design to monitor his workload.
It’s a different story for Cleveland, which should have a well-rested bullpen. After Shane Bieber worked into the eighth inning on Friday night, Triston McKenzie logged seven innings on Saturday.
“Being able to go deep in the game will definitely help the arms in the bullpen and will help the other starters,” McKenzie said. “Just all around, it makes the team comfortable knowing that I’m not out there rolling over.”
–Field Level Media