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Orioles minor league recap 5/27: A clean sweep on a night of excellent pitching

All four O’s affiliates won, with all four starting pitchers working scoreless outings.

MLB: Spring Training-Tampa Bay Rays at Baltimore Orioles
Bruce Zimmermann’s six scoreless innings highlighted a night of brilliant pitching on the farm.
Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Triple-A: Norfolk Tides 7, Memphis Redbirds (Cardinals) 2

Bruce Zimmermann unfurled his most dominant outing of the season, tossing six shutout innings and racking up more strikeouts (eight) than baserunners (seven). If Grayson Rodriguez gets demoted to the minors after last night’s poor start for the Orioles, Zimmermann might be on the short list to replace him in the rotation. Reed Garrett worked two scoreless innings, and Nick Vespi threw two pitches to get a save in a five-run game. Nice work if you can get it.

It was a well-balanced offensive attack for the Tides, with their 14 hits split between eight different batters. Leadoff man Connor Norby (#9 on Camden Chat’s prospect list) was the spark plug with a 4-for-5 game, including a two-run homer, his fifth. He’s been scalding the ball in May (.320/.389/.515) after a sluggish April. Jordan Westburg (#6) ripped a pair of doubles to snap a mini 1-for-15 slump, though he also committed an error while playing right field. Veteran outfielder Daz Cameron reached base three times and stole two bases.

Box score

Double-A: Bowie Baysox 3, Akron RubberDucks (Guardians) 2

Coby Mayo (#8 prospect) mashed his seventh home run in the opening inning, and the Baysox never trailed from there, despite scoring just one more run the rest of the game. Catcher Randy Florentino accounted for three of Bowie’s seven hits. Heston Kjerstad (#10) took a rare 0-for-4, dropping his OPS to a meager 1.004. (That’s sarcasm, folks.)

A great combined effort by hurlers Carlos Tavera and Houston Roth led the Baysox to victory. Tavera threw a no-hitter for five innings, retiring 15 of the 17 batters he faced, before being removed with a pitch count of 68. It was the best outing of the year for the Orioles’ 2021 fifth-round pick. Roth handled the last four innings, giving up two runs but striking out seven.

Box score

High-A: Aberdeen IronBirds 6, Jersey Shore BlueClaws (Phillies) 1

Another O’s affiliate, another sterling pitching performance. This one came from starter Jean Pinto, a 2020 acquisition from the Angels in the José Iglesias trade, who threw five shutout innings and struck out eight. Just like Zimmermann and Tavera before him, it was Pinto’s finest outing of the season. I don’t know what got into the Orioles’ minor league pitchers today, but I approve. Reliever Daniel Lloyd, just like Roth at Bowie, collected a four-inning save. The right-hander, drafted in 2021, gave up one run.

IronBirds hitters were a patient bunch, drawing eight walks, though they also struck out 13 times, which is not great. Leadoff man Max Wagner (#16 prospect) blasted his seventh homer and walked twice. Rehabbing Tides outfielder Hudson Haskin (#17) reached base three times. Dylan Beavers (#11) contributed an RBI single. The scalding hot Jackson Holliday, the Orioles’ top minor league prospect, didn’t play. Could he be on his way to Bowie???? ...No, probably not yet. That would be cool, though.

Box score

Low-A: Delmarva Shorebirds 5, Lynchburg Hillcats (Guardians) 0

What do you know? Delmarva completed the clean sweep on the O’s farm with the most outstanding pitching performance of an already outstanding night. Right-hander Alfred Vega joined the three other starting pitchers on this day in throwing a scoreless outing, working five innings with four hits, two strikeouts, and no walks. Unlike the other affiliates, the Shorebirds bullpen completed the shutout. Moises Chace got through three scoreless innings despite walking four, and Luis Sanchez struck out two in a perfect ninth.

The four Orioles affiliates combined to give up just five runs in the four games. That’s three fewer than the major league Orioles gave up in the fourth inning alone.

Samuel Basallo (#14 prospect) led the team with a pair of hits, including an RBI single, to push his batting average back above the .300 mark (.302). Creed Willems added a two-run single and is now batting .315 with a 1.098 OPS.

Box score

Saturday’s scheduled games:

  • Norfolk: at Memphis, 7:35 PM. Starter: Ryan Watson (3-2, 2.67)
  • Bowie: at Akron, 7:05 PM. Starter: Justin Armbruester (2-1, 1.58)
  • Aberdeen: vs. Jersey Shore, 7:05 PM. Starter: TBD
  • Delmarva: vs. Lynchburg, 7:05 PM. Starter: Wyatt Cheney (1-4, 5.82)