You knew that something was different for the Baltimore Orioles when Cedric Mullins was prompted to lead the team out of the dugout before the game. Mullins, who made his major league debut last night, played center field and was prompted by the Birds’ new right fielder (Adam Jones) to lead the team onto the field. Indeed, a new era has dawned in Birdland.
And much of it was orchestrated by Jones, who’s been lobbying for Mullins to come up for some time. And it’s tough to not notice the humility on Jones’ part, in effect stepping aside for a younger player. Jones is obviously still the team leader and de facto Captain, but needless to say Mullins is going to hopefully play that role moving forward in the future.
As for the game – well, it had its moments. Dylan Bundy got bounced around during his outing, but then again pretty much every pitcher (on both sides) did. Bundy’s line: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 8 R (7 earned), 4 BB, 3 K. Bundy gave up a three-run homer to Bogaerts in the first, which set the tone.
But the O’s got a solo homer by Chris Davis in the last of the second, and Mullins later came to the plate for his first big league at-bat in that inning with runners at first and second. And Mullins made an immediate impression, smacking a two-RBI double which tied the game. Later in the inning it was Jones’ turn, and not to be totally out-done by Mullins he smacked a two-RBI single. At the hands of the Captain and perhaps the Captain of the future, the O’s had the lead at 4-3.
And they added to it in the third, ending that inning with an 8-3 lead and chasing the Boston starter. However Boston’s the best team in baseball right now. A two-run fourth inning followed by a six-run sixth gave them an 11-8 lead. Again folks, that’s all part of rebuilding. It isn’t pretty, but it’s part of the process. and it isn’t like the ball wasn’t flying in general last night.
However the Orioles did battle back. Tim Beckham smacked a solo homer in the last of the sixth, and Davis added a sac fly-RBI. The O’s would also net a homer from Trumbo later in the game, and an RBI-single by Villar. However Boston poured it on from all sides, and the Birds fell 19-12 in Cedric Mullins’ big league debut.
And that right there is what Orioles’ fans should take away from this game. Mullins made it to the big leagues, and made an immediate impact. And that was manager Buck Showalter‘s take on the game also (all quotes courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):
Oh yeah, that was fun to watch. I’m glad I had a seat for it. I spent a little time with Al Bumbry today. He was my player comp on Cedric the first time I saw Cedric, so I thought that was kind of apropos. Same kind of life to the body and effortless athleticism, so to speak.
That’s fun to watch. You can imagine, his family made it. Try to take stuff like that in regardless of the score of the game.
And incidentally, Mullins seems well aware of how lucky he is to have a guy like Adam Jones not only mentoring him, but seemingly advocating for him. In the business world we would call what Jones is in effect doing training your replacement. But sports is a little different, and Jones gets that – BIG TIME. Mullins thought he was kidding when Jones told him to lead the team out of the dugout:
In all honesty, I thought he was messing with me. I was looking around, ‘So is the pitcher good? All right?’ And all the players were saying, ‘Hey go, you’re leading it.’ So I took their word for it. And went out on the field. And then I took the scenic route. The long way around.
Most Orioles fans are hoping that the combo of Mullins in center and Jones in right will be around for at least the next couple of years. But that’s largely contingent on Jones and the Orioles, and whether there’s a mutual fit moving forward. My personal opinion is that there is.
The series continues this afternoon in game one of a split doubleheader (due to a rainout last month). Jimmy Yacabonis is being called up from the minors to make the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s David Price. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.