Tyler Wells, All-Star? O's think so after latest gem

June 15th, 2023

BALTIMORE -- has been susceptible to allowing the long ball this season.

But he also has done a standout job of collecting strikeouts, while limiting hits and walks. 

All these factors were in full effect Thursday afternoon as the right-hander twirled 6 2/3 innings for his third consecutive win as the Orioles beat the Blue Jays, 4-2, to take the three-game set at Camden Yards. 

Wells struck out eight and walked one, allowing two solo homers to Danny Jansen. Outside of the outburst from the opposing catcher, Wells only gave up three other hits.

"Besides the Danny Jansen's at-bats, he was absolutely fantastic,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Doing what he has been doing all year. Throwing a ton of strikes, working ahead in the count. Locates well. Good mix with his fastball, cutter, slider, changeup. Super unpredictable. He can throw them all for strikes."

The series win was big for the Orioles as they continue to try to keep pace with the Rays. The Birds won five of six on the homestand and are also 5-1 this season against Toronto, pushing the AL Wild Card lead to six games over their divisional opponent.

"I think the big difference has honestly been confidence,” Wells said of beating Toronto in two series this season. “I think if you look at the Blue Jays you are seeing those guys grow as young stars. You have [Bo] Bichette and Vladdy [Guerrero Jr.] come up. You have [Cavan] Biggio come up. I think as those guys have gotten older they have gotten better.

“I think you are starting to kind of see that same transition with us right now with Adley, Gunnar, Grayson. You've [seen] what our Minor League system has and they are coming up to the big leagues now.

The youth movement has been the talk of the town surrounding the Orioles, and in many ways, the team is able to use other squads like the Blue Jays as a benchmark for growth.

"Now as we are turning a corner here, I think you are starting to see a lot of us young guys kind of step into those roles that we are excited about,” said Wells. “We are excited to go out there and face the very best. They've been a great team this year. They've got a really good lineup. I think they're going to be good for a long time, but I think we're going to be just as good, if not better, for a long time."

Wells' MLB-leading WHIP remains steady at 0.86 as he recorded strikeouts with his fastball, cutter and slider. The right-hander has eight or more strikeouts in four of his last seven starts.

“Danny Jansen kind of got me on those two pitches, but other than that, [I’m] pretty happy about it,” Wells said. “I felt like I was commanding the ball really well today. I felt like I had pretty much all my pitches going and it worked out well."

Wells has a 2.89 ERA during this current three-game win streak and his skipper believes the right-hander deserves more All-Star attention.

"I am a big fan of Tyler Wells,” Hyde said. “I am on the bandwagon of him trying to make the All-Star team. He's had a great first half. He's been really, really steady for us. He gives us a chance to win almost every time out and [has] put up great numbers. I'd love to see him have a chance to go."

Adley Rutschman and Austin Hays provided solo shots for the Orioles offense. Hays' blast in the bottom of the eighth was critical insurance that allowed Félix Bautista some breathing room.

The flame-throwing closer recorded the final four outs for his 18th save.

"I am not a pitcher, but I can imagine having a two-run lead instead of a one-run lead, where one swing doesn't really cost you the game at that point [is critical],” Hays said. “You can still be aggressive and attack the zone. It was big to get him a little bit of insurance and cushion right there so he could be aggressive in the zone."