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Orioles minor league recap 4/5: Opening day on the farm

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The minors are back! Only the Shorebirds won, and it took them extra innings.

Philadelphia Phillies v Baltimore Orioles
Josh Rogers, who started for AAA Norfolk last night.
Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Welcome back to Camden Chat’s minor league recaps! With the Orioles in rebuilding mode I hope you’ll spend some time here getting to know the minor leaguers that might make up the future big league team. It was a bit of a surprise when some prospects, like Austin Hays and Chance Sisco, were sent to the minors to start the season. Hopefully they’ll make a good enough impression to the new leadership to make it to Baltimore sometime this season.

Mark Brown spent the week previewing each of the minor league teams. If you haven’t yet, you can check them out at the following links:

Now, onto the recaps! The four teams were in action on the first day of the minor league season. Once the short-season Aberdeen Ironbirds start their season on June 14th, they’ll be included as well.

Gwinnett Stripers (ATL) 3, Norfolk Tides 1

Josh Rogers, who is likely to make some appearances with the Orioles this year, got the first start of the season for the Tides. It was not a start to remember as Rogers gave up three runs, one each in the first, third, and fifth innings. Rogers exited after that with a final pitching line of 5 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HR.

Rogers was relieved by Sean Gilmartin, who pitched the final three innings without allowing a hit.

Norfolk’s offense didn’t pick up a single hit through the first five innings. They had two base runners via walk, Jace Peterson and #2 prospect Ryan Mountcastle. Mountcastle followed his walk with a caught stealing, though. Oops. The no-hitter was broken up in the sixth inning when both Mason Williams and Stevie Wilkerson singled.

In the ninth inning, D.J. Stewart walked and Anthony Santander singled to try and ignite a rally, but it was extinguished with a double play ball from catcher Chance Sisco. Sisco was 0-for-4 on the night with five runners left on base. Mountcastle followed Sisco with an RBI single, the only run the Tides scored in the game.

Harrisburg Senators (WAS) 8, Bowie Baysox 4

The starting pitcher for the Baysox last night was Marcos Molina. If that’s a new name to you, don’t feel bad. Molina spent seven seasons toiling in the minors for the Mets before being released last July. In August, while still a free agent, he was suspended for the rest of the season for PED use. He popped up with the Orioles in their fall instructional league and is now with the Baysox. He is 24 years old.

Molina’s night started out well, with two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 inning. But he gave up a three-run homer in the second and and RBI single in the fourth to blemish his first start in the Orioles’ system. His final pitching line was 5 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 4 K, 1 HR. Two of Molina’s outs were gifts from his defense. In the 3rd inning, catcher Martin Cervenka threw out a base runner trying to steal. And in the fifth inning, #1 O’s prospect Yusniel Diaz threw out a runner trying to stretch a single into a double.

Things were even worse for relief pitcher Zach Muckenhirn, who gave up four runs in just 23 of an inning before being replaced by Jay Flaa. Flaa pitched the final 2.1 innings without allowing a hit.

Offensively, it was a big night for third baseman Anderson Feliz. Feliz had two hits including a home run. Yusniel Diaz was 1-for-4 on the night and Ryan McKenna was hitless out of the leadoff spot but reached base twice by walk.

Winston-Salem Dash (CWS) 9, Frederick Keys 4

The Keys jumped out to a three-run lead in this game in the first inning when the first four batters reached, including an RBI single from J.C. Escarra. Mason McCoy then hit a sac fly and Ryan Ripken doubled in the third run of the inning.

Unfortunately it was a rough night for #11 prospect Brenan Hanifee. The starting pitcher lasted just four innings and gave up a whopping five walks and two home runs. That added up to seven runs allowed (six earned), which is a good way to end up with the losing decision.

Delmarva Shorebirds 6, Lexington Legends (KCR) 5 - F/10

Blaine Knight, the #10 prospect for the Orioles, started the game and had the best night of any of the starters in the system. Knight pitched into the sixth inning and allowed just two runs on three hits with one walk, though he only struck out three. A fun fact about Knight is that his scouting report at MLB.com describes him as “extremely skinny” at 6’3” and 165 pounds.

On offense, it was a good game for shortstop Cadyn Grenier, the #17 prospect. Grenier struggled with the bat in 2017 leading to another year with the Shorebirds, but in this game he reached base three times with two doubles and a walk. Considered an above average defender, it will be very good news for the Orioles if he can also prove to be a talented hitter.

The Shorebirds led this game 4-2 going into the bottom of the 8th inning, but pitcher Jalen Miller allowed the Legends to tie the game. It stayed that way until the top of the 10th when Jean Carlos Encarnacion started the inning with a home run. Encarnacion, who came to the Orioles in last year’s Kevin Gausman trade, had been hitless until that inning.

Because of weird minor league rules about extra innings, a runner started the inning at second base, meaning it was a two-run homer. That ended up mattering as pitcher Timothy Naughton gave back one run in the bottom of the tenth (also the free runner) before closing out the win.

Today’s Games

  • Norfolk @ Gwinnett, 7:05. Starter: Gabriel Ynoa
  • Bowie @ Harrisburg, 7. Starter: Hunter Harvey
  • Frederick vs. Winston-Salem, 7. Starter: Cameron Bishop
  • Delmarva @ Lexington, 7. Starter: Grayson Rodriguez

For more information about last night’s games, including the box scores, you can visit MiLB.com.