Boasting two rookie pitchers in the starting rotation is a boom-bust proposition for a team like the Orioles. The good nights for Dean Kremer, Bruce Zimmermann and eventually Keegan Akin will foretell a rebuild on track.
The rough nights, like Zimmermann endured Tuesday and Kremer matched Wednesday in a 7-0 slugging by the New York Yankees before an announced 7,338 at Camden Yards, sting doubly.
Even if they all have the potential to pitch well in the rotation for years — even against these same Yankees — getting hit around the park with authority goes a long way to scuffing up the veneer these 10-14 Orioles are using to glow up another year of future-focused baseball at the big league level.
“Well, they’re going to [have growing pains] — that’s part of being in the major leagues as a young player, and you’re seeing that with our hitters the last couple years, and it’s not an easy league,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “They’re facing good lineups, and they’re going to have some tough days, and they’re going to have some good days. This is a tough lineup to pitch against, and you’ve got to have your ‘A’ game. You’ve got to have command. If you don’t, it’s going to be very, very challenging with a lot of balls hit hard.”
As it was against Zimmermann on Tuesday, most of what the Yankees accomplished at the plate was done with authority Wednesday.
Kremer benefited from a wonderful double play started by Maikel Franco at third base on a 119.4-mph ground ball from Giancarlo Stanton in a scoreless first inning, but allowed a home run to Mike Ford to open the second and eventually had four runs come across in the fourth inning. Three were on a home run by Gio Urshela.
One final run came around to score after Kremer passed the game off to Shawn Armstrong, bringing the rookie starter’s ERA to 8.40 with a 2.000 WHIP in four games with 4 1-3 innings of six-run, 10-hit ball in his return from a minor league assignment at the Bowie camp. Of the 18 batted balls in play against him Wednesday, 12 were above 95 mph. He allowed 14 such batted balls in his first three starts combined.
Kremer said “there’s only up” to go from here.
“It’s going to be an adjustment period here this year,” he said. “I understand that. It’s just kind of hammering out the things that I need to do and try to figure out what makes me good.”
Yankees starter Domingo Germán had no such issues getting through the Orioles’ lineup Wednesday, carrying a no-hit bid into the fifth inning before Ryan Mountcastle legged out an infield single with two outs.
Trey Mancini and Pedro Severino had hits in the seventh inning, but the Orioles never threatened otherwise. Mancini added a single in the ninth for the team’s only multi-hit game and the 500th hit of his career.
Eight of the Orioles’ 16 runs over six games of the current homestand came on Sunday, and they’ve scored just five runs in three games against the Yankees this week.
Wells gets another shot
Reliever Tyler Wells had a long layoff before the team asked him for long relief Saturday against Oakland, but he got back on the mound behind Armstrong after his 1 2-3 innings of shutout relief.
Wells allowed a home run to Clint Frazier in the eighth inning as part of the Rule 5 pick’s two innings out of the bullpen.