PHILADELPHIA -- For four innings on Wednesday, Yefry Ramirez didn't look like a 24-year-old callup making his second Major League start. He faced the minimum in that span, walking only Carlos Santana, owner of the third-best walk rate in baseball.Then, in the fifth, Chris Davis reached down for a routine
PHILADELPHIA -- For four innings on Wednesday, Yefry Ramirez didn't look like a 24-year-old callup making his second Major League start. He faced the minimum in that span, walking only Carlos Santana, owner of the third-best walk rate in baseball.
Then, in the fifth, Chris Davis reached down for a routine ground ball at first base, came up empty and watched both the ball and the Orioles' lead roll out of reach in a 4-1 loss to the Phillies on Wednesday evening at Citizens Bank Park.
The damage was accentuated by the fact that the O's out-hit the Phillies, 7-4, but scored only one run.
"Our starters are going out there, and I can't figure out how many starts exactly, but a lot [of them] went out there and threw really good games," Orioles center fielder Adam Jones said. "Six, seven innings, didn't give up many runs, but we were unable to score runs. That's the frustrating part for the offensive guys."
Davis' error, which allowed both Nick Williams and Scott Kingery to score and gave the Phillies enough runs for the win, derailed Ramirez's otherwise strong start. He allowed one hit in five innings, striking out four. He did this all without much feel for his changeup, a pitch that makes up 26.8 percent of his pitches, according to Statcat™, and held a 36.4 percent whiff rate entering Wednesday. It did not produce a single whiff against the Phillies.
Instead, Ramirez relied on a his slider. He threw the pitch 21 times, recording six whiffs.
"It definitely makes me a more complete pitcher," Ramirez said through a translator. "Hitters don't see me as a two-pitch pitcher right now. They need to take into account that I can throw three pitches."
The rest of the O's took notice.
"That was awesome," Jones said. "His focus was strike one. He pounded the strike zone, and he used the defense. It was fun to play behind him those first five innings today."
Ramirez was recalled Tuesday from Triple-A Norfolk, where he owned a 3.88 ERA in 14 starts, after pitching five scoreless innings of relief for the big league club last week and being sent down the next day. This came after a spot start on June 13, when he allowed three runs to the Red Sox in 4 1/3 innings.
The right-hander has flashed potential since the O's acquired him from the Yankees a little less than a year ago for international signing pool money. That offers hope for the future during a time when the Orioles are 24-61 and losers of nine of their last 10 games.
"Yefry," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said, "He's got my eye."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Close doesn't count: The Orioles had their chances against Phillies ace Aaron Nola, putting a runner on base in each of the seven innings they faced him. The only one to score was Timothy Beckham in the second, plated by Jones' RBI double.
"The name of the game is not how many hits you can get," Jones said, "but how many runs you can score."
Two-out singles from Beckham and Jones put runners on the corners for Manny Machado in the seventh inning. Nola had thrown 100 pitches by that point and had a lengthy visit with Phillies manager Gabe Kapler on the mound, but stayed in to face the Orioles' most dangerous hitter.
Machado popped up to shallow right field, and Cesar Hernandez ran 84 feet to make an over-the-shoulder grab and halt a potential O's rally.
Insurance:David Hess pitched a 1-2-3 sixth inning in relief of Ramirez, but a shaky start to the seventh put the Orioles in a deeper hole. Hess walked Santana to lead off the frame, then allowed a home run to Williams.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Showalter double-switched Joey Rickard into left field for the bottom of the sixth inning. On the first pitch of the frame, Phillies second baseman Cesar Hernandez lined a ball into the left-center gap. Rickard tracked it and made a diving catch.
It was a 5-star catch, according to Statcast™. Rickard had to cover 72 feet in 4.4 seconds, which gave him a 21 percent catch probability.
HE SAID IT
"Right now, you can't write a better script. This might be a movie one day. This season might be a movie one day -- starring me. I'm going to star as myself. But it's a lot of emotions, you know? It's been an up-and-down year. More down, obviously, in the win-loss column. Up, because I come to work every day with great guys. Obviously, the results are not there, but I come to work with great guys every day." -- Jones
The Orioles head to Target Field for the first of a four-game series with the Twins on Thursday night at 8:10 p.m. ET. Andrew Cashner (2-8, 4.48 ERA), who owns a 3.21 ERA in his last five starts, four which were quality starts, will start for the O's. Cashner allowed only one run over six innings in his most recent start, against the Angels on June 30. Aaron Slegers will make his first start of 2018 for Minnesota.
Joe Bloss is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia.