As their divisional opponents take turns pounding the Orioles to dust, the strain of a grueling season is starting to take its tone as well.
In a 7-2 loss to the New York Yankees before 10,235 fans at Camden Yards, the Orioles (46-98) also lost their leader in Trey Mancini to an abdominal injury after a hard but awkward swing, and catcher Pedro Severino with an upper leg/groin issue that has limited him this month.
Including a knee injury that could probably end the season for tenured reliever Tanner Scott and new impressive infielder Jorge Mateo being placed on the 60-day injured list due to a back injury, the Orioles have lost six pivotal pieces to a team that doesn’t have many to spare during this marathon homestand.
“For the most part, we’ve been really fortunate throughout the year,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “Now, we’ve got three weeks left and we do have a lot of nagging things going on. That just gives other guys opportunity, and I hope that some of these guys can get on the mend quick and be OK. But you just never know.”
Hyde said Mancini and Severino were both day-to-day, but that both aggravated injuries that they’ve been dealing with most of the month speaks to how difficult it is to recover with a few days rest this time of the season.
The injuries were pockmarks on a game that wasn’t much to look at either. Rookie left-hander Alexander Wells allowed a leadoff single then a towering home run to Aaron Judge two batters into the game. Though he looked to be settling in, he allowed a two-run home run to Giancarlo Stanton, then a solo homer to the next batter, Luke Voit, to create a 5-0 deficit in the third inning.
“Tonight, I made a couple mistakes out over the plate and they capitalized,” Wells said. “They’re really a tough lineup.”
Hyde said: “He got beat with his off-speed for me tonight. The Judge homer was a changeup, the Stanton homer was a changeup, then kind of a hanging breaking ball there to Voit. I thought his slider was good tonight. I wish he would have used it more. But his misses are normally up, and to me, he needs to work down in the zone a little bit more, be able to change eye level up, be able to throw the changeup below down underneath. Just a lot of spray misses up tonight.”
Wells completed four innings, and the relief combination of Eric Hanhold and Marcos Diplán combined to keep them at bay before Joey Gallo homered in the eighth and DJ LeMahieu homered in the ninth, each off Spenser Watkins.
The Orioles scored in the bottom of the fifth when Pat Valaika singled and scored from first on a double by Ryan Mountcastle, though they had ample chances to chip away against Yankees ace Gerrit Cole. Instead, they stranded nine without a hit with a runner in scoring position until Kelvin Gutiérrez singled in a run in the ninth.
Mancini’s only plate appearance was in one of those attempts, as Cedric Mullins doubled to begin the first inning and was on third base when Mancini walked with two outs. He took one swing on a high-and-inside fastball and grimaced after, later accepting his free pass. Austin Hays walked as well before Ramón Urías struck out to end the Orioles’ best threat.
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DJ Stewart took over for Mancini as the designated hitter when his spot came around in the fourth. Since the Orioles were in New York Labor Day weekend, Mancini has been nursing a sore oblique.
Mateo, Scott done for ‘21
After a knee injury ended right-hander Matt Harvey’s season last week and a sprained ankle did the same for Jorge López earlier this homestand, the Orioles added Mateo and likely Scott to the list of players they’d be without for the rest of the season.
Scott first injured his knee in late July in Detroit and had an injured list stint to rest it then, but Hyde said he “hasn’t been the same” since.
“His first half was so good,” Hyde said. “Getting left-handers and right-handers out, pitched in big spots, a ton of strikeouts. I know he wasn’t getting the results that he wanted really for the last month or two. I think he was trying to grind through it to finish on a strong note, and the knee just didn’t allow him to do that.”
Mateo, a waiver claim from the San Diego Padres who impressed in his first few weeks with the Orioles, has been hampered by back soreness for most of this month.
Valaika’s contract was selected to take Mateo’s roster spot, while Diplán was recalled for Scott.
Henderson debuts for Bowie
Infield prospect Gunnar Henderson, 20, was promoted from High-A Aberdeen to Double-A Bowie for the Baysox’s playoff push and began things well. The Orioles’ top young infielder doubled and scored in the first game of Bowie’s doubleheader with Altoona Tuesday, then walked twice and scored twice in his first two plate appearances of the second game.