Jack Flaherty calls O's "a complete team" plus other notes from Toronto
TORONTO – You only get one chance to make a first impression. Right-hander Jack Flaherty, who had made 118 starts for the St. Louis Cardinals since the 2017 season, made a good one on his new Orioles teammates and fans throughout Birdland.
He was rolling, getting through the fifth in Toronto Thursday afternoon on 58 pitches. He had retired 15 in a row. But he got in trouble in the sixth and Vlad Guerrero Jr.’s single made it a 3-1 O’s lead and he walked a man to load the bases. But given a chance to pitch out of that big jam, he did, getting Matt Chapman swinging on a big breaking curveball and Alejandro Kirk to fly out on a breaking ball.
His new manager had the confidence to let him try and get out of that jam.
“Means a lot,” Flaherty said of that trust. “Go out and make pitches and let me get through that. Walked (George) Springer but made some good pitches and was able to execute with Chapman and Kirk there. Nice to have that trust and my job is to continue to make pitches until he takes the ball from me.”
Allowing just one run over six innings on 92 pitches, Flaherty seems fired up to be an Oriole so far. He had not touched 97 mph with his fastball all year and then he did that in his first inning.
“New energy to be here, was excited,” he said. “Some of that is just being in synch which was weird for having that much time off. First inning it was like we’re right into this thing. Have to figure it out and first two guys get on. Then you have to figure it out right there.”
He impressed the Orioles, and he said the Orioles impressed him.
“Complete team. You kind of knew that coming in and you get around them and see what they’re about. They are a complete team. Offense, defense, pitching – they can do it all,” he said.
Now after a whirlwind couple of days, Flaherty, who said he keeps to himself on game day, can start to really get to know his new teammates.
“I just told them now I can actually talk to you guys and learn your guy's names. Last two days has been go, go, go. Now I can take a deep breath and look forward to actually building in with these guys.”
O’s starting pitchers posted a 2.92 ERA in taking three of four in Toronto and came an out away from Grayson Rodriguez shy of four quality starts. The Birds are now 34-10 when they get a QS this year.
The O’s pitchers allowed just 10 runs in the series. And, in going 8-2 this year versus Toronto, they have yielded 31 runs.
Mounty was mashing: Ryan Mountcastle had another great series against Toronto pitching. He may have outdone himself this time, going 4-4 yesterday for his sixth career four-hit game. In the series he went 11-for-13 with four doubles, five runs and six RBIs.
In 18 games since returning from vertigo, Mouncastle is 23-for-50, batting .460 with a 1.220 OPS. In that span he has seven doubles, two homers and 10 RBIs.
“It’s easier when you are just seeing one baseball instead of three at the plate. I feel a lot better and healthy and it’s a blessing,” Mountcastle said.
The Birds did themselves a lot of good since July 20 going 3-1 in series with each of the Rays and Jays and 2-1 against the Yankees.
“I think all the teams know we’re here and we’re ready to play and here for the long run. Try to keep it going against the Mets and we’re playing some good ball right now,” added Mountcastle.
Cowser’s double: Hitless since July 24 and batting just .098 in his first 20 MLB games, outfielder Colton Cowser batted once yesterday and doubled and scored in the ninth. Facing right-hander Thomas Hatch, he hit a 95 mph fastball with an exit velocity of 106 mph to right-center.
“Enormous for him. Wants to contribute,” said Hyde. “Put him in there (in the seventh inning) for defense. Comes up and that’s a big run in that spot, so he got on second base there. Really happy for him.”
Hyde’s team is now 67-42 overall, 24-14 in AL East games and 18-7 the past 25 games. They roll into a homestand that begins tonight playing well. Toronto was 14-7 its previous 21 games when this series started.
“Still a long way to go but love the way we’re playing. … I think our record against above .500 teams speaks for itself and we can play with anybody," Hyde said.
Final notes: In keeping a good Toronto lineup in check this year, Guerrero has gone just 5-for-35 (.143) against Baltimore pitching. He has 11 strikeouts, no extra-base hits and just two RBIs in the season series.
Flaherty recorded his eighth quality start of the season. Over his last six starts, he has gone 3-1 with a 2.78 ERA (11 ER/35.2 IP) and 34 strikeouts.
In their past 10 AL East series, the Orioles are 8-0-2 and have gone 22-10.
Austin Hays had four hits yesterday after batting .115 his previous 14 games. This was his third game with four or more hits on the year and team-high 30th multi-hit game of the season.
Rutschman recorded his 26th multi-hit effort of the year. He has reached base safely in 18 of his last 19 games, batting .293 (22-for-75) with five doubles, three homers, and 13 RBIs (.856 OPS).
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