The Elmo Word of the Day is: Energy.
Bobby Bradley brought it with his bat, Amed Rosario brought it on the bases, and Rick Manning brought in the booth once again with his hate of bad infield plays. Everybody won on this fine evening. Except for the Orioles.
Like last night’s win, Bradley did something great that didn’t involve hitting a ball 406 feet. He didn’t quite take a changeup to the opposite field, but he did pull a ball for a single and only struck out once in four at-bats. He also watched four pitches that should have all been balls in the seventh inning, showing rare patience at the plate that is going to make him a star one day if he can do it against pitchers that aren’t Adam Plutko.
Oh yeah, and he also hit a ball 406 feet.
That was his third homer of the season already, and he has currently only struck out four times. There are a lot of things to watch with Bradley’s game, none bigger than his ability to avoid whiffing 40% of the time like he did in his rookie season. Maybe he’s figured it out, or maybe he’s just feasting on hittable pitching — either way, he is firmly trending in the right direction right now.
The Orioles had a very clear plan to attack him: feed him juicy-looking fastballs that he would swing and miss up and out of the zone. They tried, but it didn’t work. In total, he saw nine pitches up and out or on the border of the zone. He swung and missed on three, watched five go for balls, and saw one go as a called “strike”.
Speaking of trending in the right direction, Amed Rosario had another huge night, going 3-for-5 in the win, and absolutely whipping around the bases. He scored on a slide in the fourth inning that — I have to be honest — I have no idea how the umpire made the correct call on. Rosario barely got his arm over the glove of the catcher to be safe in a feat of athleticism I could only dream of accomplishing.
Rosario was a five-tool prospect coming through the minors, and while I don’t think it’s time to call him a five-tool major-leaguer, he sure has shown plus speed and hitting during his recent hot streak. The power has been flashed occasionally, but fielding and throwing could still use some work. The all-important sixth tool, beard, is a check in the plus column as well.
Ernie Clement also made his first major-league start, which is noteworthy because he grew up in Rochester, New York, roughly two hours from where I currently live. No one plays baseball from around here, so he’s as close as I’m going to get. He went 1-for-4 with a run scored in his first start (not his debut, mind you, that came with a pinch-hit on Sunday). I’ll probably see Cleveland baseball on my local news station, it’s going to be wild times.
Holding the Orioles to their end of the 7-2 loss was a mix of Cal Quantrill and a bullpen that is already running on fumes but still pitching lights out.
Quantrill, the “starter”, threw 60 pitches and is likely to be stretched out for more if he keeps having starts like this. He threw his sinker 28 times, more than three times as much as any of his other pitches, and it resulted in a lot of weak contact. Just as planned.
One interesting thing about Quantrill’s approach can be seen in his pitch count breakdown. While he threw his sinker an overwhelming majority of the time, he was almost dead even between his big-four pitches (sinker, four-seamer, curveball, changeup) with a slider tossed in there as well. He and catcher Austin Hedges did an excellent job keeping a sneaky-good Orioles offense off-balance all night.
Quantrill’s only real blemish on the scorecard was a double he gave up to Maikel Franco in the second that scored Freddy Galvis. He also had four strikeouts and zero walks on the day.