The Orioles dropped to 0-2 in their all-black City Connect kits on Saturday afternoon, losing 5-3 to Andrew Heaney and the visiting Texas Rangers at Camden Yards.
Let’s start with the good news, because it will be rather quick.
Dean Kremer had another nice start. Over 6.1 innings the righty allowed three runs (all earned) on five hits, two walks, and five strikeouts. His fastball velocity was solid as ever (averaged 94.9 mph), and he didn’t give up any home runs for the first time since May 10. His season ERA inched down just a little bit further from 4.61 before the outing to 4.58 after.
Until the ninth inning, the Orioles only offense came from Austin Hays. The outfielder smacked his sixth homer of the season, a solo shot in the seventh inning. That was the minuscule amount of damage the home team could mount against Andrew Heaney. The very same Andrew Heaney that entered the day with a career ERA of 9.51 and 1.165 OPS against these Orioles.
It was not an entirely impotent effort. The O’s had runners on base against the southpaw on a few occasions.
Like in the bottom of the second. James McCann doubled with two outs, but was thrown out (by a mile) at home plate when trying to score on an Adam Frazier single to right fielder Adolis García. In case you didn’t know (and it seems like McCann or third base coach Tony Mansolino didn’t), García has a very good arm, and he leads the league in outfield assists. Maybe not the best idea to test him with one of the slowest runners in the league.
The Orioles threatened again in the third inning. Jorge Mateo singled with one out and moved to second on a stolen base. A walk for Cedric Mullins put two runners on base for Adley Rutschman, the perfect scenario for the O’s! But a hit and run backfired when Mateo took off with the pitch and Rutschman lined out to left fielder Josh Smith, who easily doubled up Mateo back at second base to end the inning.
Heaney shut everyone else down for seven innings, and then Brock Burke made quick work in the eighth with an assist from García’s snowcone catch of a Mateo fly ball in deep right field
It was in the ninth inning where the bats finally started to come alive. Hays was the spark, working a walk on six pitches. A long double to right-center field from Ryan Mountcastle plated Hays and gave the O’s a runner in scoring position for just the third time all day. They immediately cashed in when Ramón Urías delivered a two-bagger of his own down the left field line to score Mountcastle. But that is as far as the rally would go before McCann went down swinging to end the game. Too little, too late.
As mentioned before, Kremer was good. Only one of the five hits he allowed went for extra bases. It would be nice to see him miss bats with a bit more regularity, but the way in which he’s getting outs is clearly effective.
The bullpen was less impressive. Bryan Baker pitched for the first time since Tuesday, and didn’t look great. His changeup was...weird. He only threw two. One went to the backstop, and the other was only 71 miles per hour. Perhaps they are working on a grip or something there. It definitely needs some fine tuning. He didn’t have any whiffs and saw his fastball get hit hard a few times in his two-thirds of an inning.
Mychal Givens was off too. His fastball velocity was down, and he gave up a rocket of a ground ball to García (111 miles per hour). The veteran seems to still be shaking off some rust from the injury time off.
Hopefully the Orioles can snag one game this weekend as these two teams return to the field tomorrow afternoon to wrap up the series. Kyle Bradish (2-1, 4.34 ERA) is on the bump to face an unknown-as-of-this-writing starter for the Rangers. First pitch is 1:35 p.m., and the action can be viewed on MASN 2 locally or on MLB Network beyond Birdland.