I’m sure when Orioles manager Brandon Hyde thought about his first win as a major league manager, it included a bullpen by committee that saw six pitchers used and included a two-out save by Mike Wright through the heart of the Yankees order.
No? Well that’s exactly how Hyde and the Orioles won their first game of the season in a surreal game that included three hits and three RBIs from catcher Jesus Sucre and the first major league hit by SS Richie Martin.
I know some are going to blame Hyde for taking closer Mychal Givens out of the game before the 9th, but with a four run lead after the Orioles scored two in the top of the 9th, taking him out made sense because it frees him up to come in to Sunday’s game if needed, something he probably would not been available for if he pitched two innings today.
Unfortunately, Richard Bleier struggled as Yankees hitters collected a home run, a double, a hard single and a hard linedrive out (Yankees average 102.7 MPH EV off him) forcing Hyde to bring in Wright.
Perhaps fired up over his first ever save chance in the 9th, Wright looked like his major debut self and pumped in 95-97 MPH fastballs offset with a 91 MPH cutter looking like a legitimate major league closer. After going 3-2 to Giancarlo Stanton, Sucre called for a cutter and Wright threw down and in cutter that Stanton swung through for strike three.
After giving up a bloop single that Joey Rickard should have caught putting the tie run on 1st base and brought the winning run to the plate, Wright struck out Miguel Andujar on a 96 MPH fastball to end the game.
How good was Wright’s stuff in this outing? He got five swinging strikes in just 16 pitches thrown (Same as Givens) compared to his one swinging strike in 19 pitches in the season opener when he averaged 92.3 on his fastball vs the 96.3 he averaged today,
If the Orioles can figure out how to find this guy more times than not, their patience could finally pay off.
Another thing of note was the benching of Chris Davis against lefty Chris Paxton but not third baseman Rio Ruiz who OPS’d .607 against southpaws in AAA last year. Hyde also started Drew Jackson in center field over Cedric Mullins which could indicate he plans on platooning a bunch this year.
Ruiz paid off later in the game when he doubled off a right-handed reliever.
Nate Karns got out of walking the bases loaded in the 1st inning to pitch two shutout innings before Jimmy Yacobonis (ended up getting credited with the win) came on and pitched three solid innings, allowing just one run. Miguel Castro was pretty dominant for his two innings as the Orioles took a 3-1 lead. Of the six balls that were put in play off Castro, all six were on sliders but they averaged just 83.2 EV and collected just one hit.