Harrisburg Senators pitchers were tasked with one of the hardest challenges in the Minor Leagues during Sunday’s doubleheader: getting Adley Rutschman out.
They succeeded twice in the MLB's No. 2 prospect's eight plate appearances over the two games in Bowie. Rutschman went a combined 5-for-6 with two home runs, seven RBIs, two runs, a walk, a strikeout and a sacrifice fly in the Baysox sweep of the twin bill.
“I’m just trying to continue to get better every day. Like I said, you’re going to have good days and bad days in baseball and today was a good day,” said Rutschman.
In game one, the switch-hitting slugger hit his first home run of the season from the right side of the plate, a line drive three-run shot that was his fifth longball of the season. Rutschman tacked on two singles to finish 3-for-4 in the first contest with three RBIs and a run scored.
“Right now, if I get a pitch, I think it’s going to go out so it’s really just about getting my A-swing off on a pitch in zone and hopefully good things happen,” said Rutschman. “It’s always interesting talking to switch-hitters because you hear the philosophies in each swing, it’s always different and you got your own problems with each swing.”
Game two saw Rutschman demolish a ball from the left side for his sixth dinger of the year, pulled into the trees that peer over the right field wall at Prince George’s Stadium. He finished the game 2-for-2 with four RBIs, adding a single, a walk and a sac fly to his final line. The star catcher’s performance was supported by Orioles No. 4 prospect DL Hall’s fantastic outing. The lefty tossed five shutout innings and allowed one hit, striking out eight with three walks.
Starting with his six total base day on May 23, Rutschman has been raking all week. He has raised his season slash line from .211/.408/.404 to .293/.465/.573 over the last seven days. In the six games he played this week, Rutschman went 11-for-18 with three homers, a double, 10 RBIs and six walks to just two strikeouts.
“Patience is the name of the game. Swinging at strikes and eliminating bad pitches is what allows you to get those good pitches to hit and capitalizing when you get those,” said Rutschman. “If you’re swinging out of zone, there’s no reason to ever throw you in zone, so you got to show pitchers that you’re willing to refine your zone and that they’re going to have throw you a strike at some point in order for you swing.”
Rutschman’s performance in game one marked his second three-hit performance of the season, both coming in the last week. The 2019 Draft’s first overall pick has totaled 22 hits on the season with nine extra-base hits, and his patient approach has led him to walk 22 times in 101 plate appearances, a walk rate of 21.8%. His 1.039 OPS is a season high, and his six dingers on the season are a career-high.