MLB Orioles face Cubs’ formidable Keegan Thompson


Baltimore Orioles batters notched some notable accomplishments in recent days, but it hasn’t translated into good vibes for the team’s offense as a whole.

That may not bode well for the Orioles on Tuesday night, when the Chicago Cubs visit for the beginning of a two-game series.

Keegan Thompson, one of the hottest pitchers in baseball, is slated to start the series opener for Chicago. So it’s time for the Orioles to get it together with the bats, something that has been slow to develop on a regular basis.

In their three-game series with Cleveland, the Orioles managed a total of 13 hits. In Sunday’s 3-2 loss, they went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.

Yet the weekend’s offensive highlights for Baltimore included massive home runs from Trey Mancini and Ryan Mountcastle — the two longest homers of the season for the Orioles at 438 and 437 feet, respectively. Plus, outfielder Austin Hays has at least one hit in 14 of his last 16 games.

“He’s just maturing as a hitter,” Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde said of Hays. “I like the way he’s using the whole field.”

Baltimore has lost four of its last six games despite some good work on the mound on numerous occasions. The Orioles didn’t allow a run in the last eight innings Sunday.

“Really encouraged and happy with how guys threw the ball,” Hyde said.

The Cubs are coming off Sunday’s 5-3, 11-inning loss to the visiting St. Louis Cardinals. Chicago won four of nine games on their homestand, and manager David Ross said there could have been more success during that stretch.

“The guys are playing awesome, man. I really think they are,” Ross said. “Guys are giving everything they’ve got, plus.”

The Cubs have Thompson (6-0, 1.99 ERA), a right-hander, heading to the mound. He has picked up victories in his last four appearances. The second-year major leaguer has never faced Baltimore.

Monday’s day off should give the Cubs a chance to replenish the number of relievers available behind Thompson. Chicago has played back-to-back extra-inning games and they’ve been extended to 10 or more innings in three games already this month.

“We were really short in pitching,” Ross said.

The Orioles will start rookie right-hander Kyle Bradish (1-3, 6.82 ERA), who last won a game May 10 at St. Louis, his first career win. However, the Orioles have won the past two games he has started.

The Orioles, who are 14-15 at home, could be making more roster adjustments regarding the pitching staff, though the day off Monday might ease some of the burden that might have been growing on the bullpen.

Dean Kremer made his first major league appearance of the season Sunday in a starting role for Baltimore, with Denyi Reyes optioned to Triple-A Norfolk earlier in the day. After the game, Marcos Diplan was sent back to Norfolk, so a corresponding move should come prior to Tuesday’s game.

This is the beginning of Chicago’s five-game road trip against American League East opponents, with a visit to the New York Yankees next.

–Field Level Media


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