Orioles Searching For More Offense As Season Reaches Memorial Day Checkpoint

The Orioles have struggled to get hits in key situations this season.

They have had chances to score runs in pivotal situations but can’t move enough runners across the plate.

The Orioles were shut out in the series finale against the Yankees May 25 and dropped two of three games in the series. In that final game, the Orioles went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left nine men on.

“We just didn’t score,” manager Brandon Hyde said after the final game against the Yankees. “We were facing [JP Sears] on a limited pitch count, we got his pitch count up the first couple innings and couldn’t put good at-bats together with runners in scoring position, which really cost us the game.”

The Orioles enter play May 27 tied for 26th in the league with 159 runs scored. Anthony Santander leads the team with 21 RBIs, followed by Austin Hays (20), Ryan Mountcastle (18), Rougned Odor (18), Cedric Mullins (16) and Trey Mancini (16).

The Orioles need to get more production out of Jorge Mateo, who has been solid at shortstop but is batting just .207/.245/.314 with nine RBIs. Mullins (.242/.305/.379), Mountcastle (.256/.288/.391) and Ramon Urias (.220/.271/.341) have gotten off to slow starts as well.

Catcher Adley Rutschman, who made his big league debut May 21, has shown he belongs in the major leagues and will ultimately produce once he gets more comfortable. He recorded his first multi-hit game May 25 against the Yankees.

“Everything feels a little different right now,” Rutschman said. “For the most part, I think I’m just trying to compete and just help the team win.”

The Orioles do have some options at Triple-A Norfolk.

Outfielder DJ Stewart, a first-round pick who recently cleared waivers, hit his first homer for the Tides after coming off the IL. The Orioles are hopeful Stewart can still make a contribution at the big league level.

Stewart has batted .213/.327/.400 in five major league seasons and 622 plate appearances, with 21 doubles, 26 home runs and 73 RBIs. He has 167 strikeouts and has walked 82 times.

Outfielder Kyle Stowers has been on a tear of late. He is hitting .256/.353/.564 with 10 homers and 25 RBIs. He is destined to get a look with the big league club this summer. Since May 20, Stowers has hit five homers, including three on May 25, and slugged 1.167 in six games.

Stowers was the Orioles’ co-Minor League Player of the Year in 2021 along with Rutschman. The Orioles sent him to the Arizona Fall League to get more at-bats, but he was 2-for-10 with a double, RBI, two walks, six strikeouts and two runs scored with the Mesa Solar Sox before being shut down with a lower back injury.

Norfolk outfielder Yusniel Diaz was also becoming a viable option for the Orioles before he landed on the injured list with a strained hamstring. He’s batting .327/.424/.510 with two homers and nine RBIs in 14 games.

Diaz is the last remaining player among the five — Dean Kremer, Rylan Bannon, Zach Pop and Breyvic Valera — acquired from the Dodgers in the 2018 Manny Machado trade who hasn’t reached the majors.

“It stinks for him,” Elias said. “He looked good in Triple-A, too. That was very disappointing news the other day. I don’t know what to say other than it stinks. It’s tough news. Once you have those, sometimes they can be more susceptible to recurrence. He’s a twitchy, explosive guy and this stuff happens, but it’s really putting a hamper on his ability to get on a roll and make himself relevant for the major league team.”

Bannon is still with the organization and is currently at Norfolk, batting .221 with four homers and 24 RBIs.

“It’s awesome to see some of us get our opportunity up here,” Bannon said when he was in the major leagues recently. “It’s awesome for this organization, some of the guys that they thought the Orioles have a future with have started to make their way to the big leagues, and it’s awesome to see.”

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox

Todd Karpovich

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