With left-hander Brian Matusz struggling at the major league level, there are three lefties with major league experience in the Norfolk bullpen pitching well this year. Andy Oliver struck out four in three scoreless innings of relief Thursday to lower his ERA to 1.01 with 27 strikeouts in 26 2/3 innings. Zach Phillips entered Friday with a 2.95 ERA in 18 1/3 innings, and Edgar Olmos went into the weekend with 25 strikeouts in 17 2/3 innings.
Catcher Chance Sisco entered the weekend as the runaway batting leader in the Eastern League, hitting .337/.444/.416 with eight doubles and 15 RBIs in 31 games. Only two other qualifiers, Akron outfielder Clint Frazier and Richmond outfielder Austin Slater, were hitting .300. Sisco went into Friday still without a home run, but his control of the strike zone and smooth swing from the left side more than make up for his slow-developing power.
No pitcher in the Orioles system has started as well as right-hander Matthew Grimes, who struck out five in seven one-run innings to match the longest outing of his career Tuesday. Grimes was 5-2 with a 1.61 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP in his first eight starts this season, striking out 30 in 44 2/3 innings. The 2014 18th-round draft pick entered Friday ranked second in the Carolina League in ERA.
Making his full-season debut this year for the Shorebirds, outfielder Cedric Mullins is erasing a slow start with a strong May. Mullins hit .214 with three extra-base hits in 18 April games, and raised his season average to .285 by batting .358 with 11 extra-base hits in his first 16 games this month. Mullins, 21, was selected in the 13th round of the 2015 draft, and has stolen 11 bases in 13 tries in 2016.