Adli Ratchman has arrived.
Undoubtedly, the most promising player in baseball and the Orioles’ farming system made it to the majors a little over a month ago. But the player who inspired all the hype has been seething in recent days, coming to the surface in full force in Game 1 of the series on Thursday night against the Chicago White Sox. Rutchman hit a homerade and added an RBI double to secure Baltimore’s first three runs and caught the Oriole’s third shutout in six games in a 4–0 win at Guaranteed Rate Field.
That performance was the best testament that Rutchman’s bat is living up to the high expectations placed on it when baseball’s premier prospect first joined the Orioles (32-39). Ruchman has been hitting .326/.370/.651 over the past two weeks, with 10 of his 14 hits going to extra bases. Baltimore is 16-15 years old since he advanced to the majors.
He recorded a goalless tie in the fourth inning. With one strikeout, Ryan Mountcastle, who entered the game with the American League’s tied lead in off-base hits in a month, doubled to third with an outfield error. This added base proved pointless as Rutchman drove the Johnny Cueto cutter an estimated 402 feet to the right across the field at 107 mph for his second major league home run.
Another Mountcastle hit in the sixth chased Cueto and put two on Rutchman, who hit Reinaldo López on the third innings down the first base line. Scored by Austin Hayes, who failed to match on offense the cycle he posted on Wednesday but again blinded in defense.
Rutchman was careful with his glove too, catching Dean Kremer’s second straight shutout and zero pitches that Felix Bautista, Dillon Tate and Jorge Lopez secured behind him. After playing six clean frames in his previous game and another 5 2/3 on Thursday, Kremer became only the third Oriol since 2019 with scoreless starts in at least five innings.
Hayes again… and again
If word spreads around the league about not running after Hayes in the outfield, it looks like they haven’t made it to Chicago yet.
Throwing out a runner at third base during a game in center field on Wednesday, Hayes held off Kraemer’s line with a perfect throw a half-inning behind Rutchman’s homer. He didn’t finish the defense, diving through the right field line chalk to grab Jake Burger by the fly in the eighth round.
Hayes’ six outfield assists are the second most in major tournament assists, behind only eight by Cleveland outfielder Miles Straw. Baltimore’s 16 outfield passes are more than the Texas Rangers’ of any team.
Hayes’ night was part of a collective defensive display from the Orioles’ outfield, with center fielder Cedric Mullins and left fielder Anthony Santander also attempting to make some difficult catches to support the Baltimore pitching staff. Mullins secured Baltimore’s last run with an RBI single in ninth place.
Around the horn
>> Right-hander Spencer Watkins threw just one inning early Wednesday for Triple-A Norfolk because the Orioles consider him an option for Saturday’s opener in their rotation, manager Brandon Hyde said.
>> Orioles prospect Terrin Vavra homered to open Norfolk’s game, but left after he was hit in the head by a pitch in his next plate appearance.
>> Right-hander Matt Harvey threw in six scoreless innings for High-A Aberdeen in his 2022 debut. Harvey, under a minor league contract, is serving a suspension for violating the league’s drug policy until July 7, but may play below Triple-A until then.
>> The Orioles traded minor league infielder Patrick Dorrian to the Milwaukee Brewers for cash.
This story will be updated.
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