Bruce Zimmermann cannot seem to figure things out. Zimmermann—Baltimore’s native son who allowed just one home run in his first six starts—has now allowed 14 homers in his last six outings. He’s not fooling anyone, and hitters are taking advantage.
There’s a place in the game for soft tossing lefties but the margin is thin. Zimmermann caught too much of the plate again tonight, and the Royals pounded the Orioles 8-1.
The Royals jumped on Zimmermann right away. Whit Merrifield led off with a double and Andrew Benintendi immediately brought him home with a two-bagger of his own. Salvador Perez stepped in and punished O’s fans once again with a two-run shot over the center-field fence.
Kansas City did not know it at the time, but it could have stopped right there. The Orioles offense had little interest in competing tonight, despite the fact that Royals’ starter Jonathan Heasley had walked 18 batters in just 25.1 innings this season.
Heasley conceded a single to Anthony Santander in the first inning and that was it. Heasley did not allow a run, struck out seven and did not walk a batter. The outing marked by far his best start in the big leagues, and the 25-year-old picked up his first win of the season.
Santander turned around a 98-MPH fastball and sent it 109 MPH over the right-field fence to get the O’s on the board in the top of the ninth. Santander recorded the only multi-hit game for Baltimore.
Ryan McKenna replaced Austin Hays after Hays grounded out in the bottom of the seventh. Hays did not initially appear to be injured on the play, and McKenna reached on an infield single in the ninth. The Orioles finished with four hits on the night.
Perez extended the lead to four with an RBI-double in the third, and MJ Melendez chased Zimmermann from the game with a two-run shot in the bottom of the fifth.
The Orioles turned to recent waiver claim Austin Voth to replace Zimmermann. Voth, a fifth-round pick by the Nationals in 2013, made his first appearance for Baltimore after the Birds claimed him earlier this week. Voth allowed a solo home run in the sixth inning, walked a batter, and struck out two in an inning and a third.
The Orioles used an Adley Rutschman double and a pair of walks to load the bases in the eighth inning, but Trey Mancini bounced out to end the threat. The knock marked Rutschman’s third extra-base hit this season and represented a positive moment for the slumping prospect.
Cedric Mullins made a tremendous catch at the wall to rob Hunter Dozier of what would have been at least an extra-base hit in the fifth inning. Jorge Mateo also made a few nice plays in the field.
The Orioles turned to Jorge López in the bottom of the eighth despite the large deficit. It’s rarely encouraging when a team’s closer has to pitch due to a lack of recent activity. López struck out the first two batters he faced and generated a groundout to end the inning. His ERA now sits below one.
The Orioles originally wrote Ramón Urías into the starting lineup but scratched him in favor of Tyler Nevin. Baltimore did not comment on the status of Urías prior to first pitch.
There were not many positive things to focus on tonight. I obviously have no affiliation with the Orioles or Camden Yards, but I would encourage you all to go see Paul McCartney this week if you have the opportunity. I saw him in college and he really seemed to leave it all out on the stage. There’s a lot of energy left in that Brit, and I even appreciated a few tracks from the McCartney III album from 2020.
Anyway, the Orioles have Tyler Wells on the mound tomorrow against Daniel Lynch. The Birds will need to win the final two games to manage a series split against the Royals.