Baltimore Orioles: Cedric Mullins homers in Birds’ loss

Cedric Mullins to date has been as good as advertised for the Baltimore Orioles. It’s easy to see why Adam Jones was apparently lobbying for the youngster to come up to the big leagues for some time. Mullins had two hits in an otherwise forgetful game last night in Kansas City, one of which was a homer. Fittingly, Mullins (in the short time he’s been with the club) has been a bright spot in an otherwise forgetful season in Birdland.

Andrew Cashner got the start, and he bent but didn’t break. That’s the best way I can put it. Cashner’s line: 5.1 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 1 K. He walked a bit on the wild side and flirted with disaster, but never really gave up the death blow. That came later.

Mullins led the game off with a solo homer. The Orioles are batting Mullins lead off because he does in fact get on base frequently, and in doing so is a constant threat to steal with his speed. Of course the act of hitting the ball out of the ballpark makes that a moot issue! (And incidentally, while you’ll take it you really don’t want your lead off guy smacking the ball out like that.)

Kansas City however came right back in the last of the first and put runners at the corners with nobody out. But again, Cashner bent but didn’t break; he induced Dozier to ground into a run-scoring double-play. Kansas City, being a small ball team, is fine with that because they get a run and go on their merry little way. But make no mistake that it’s a win for the defense. You’ll sacrifice one run early in the game like that for two outs.

Kansas City would take the lead in the last of the fourth on a sac fly-RBI by Merrifield. However one inning later Dozier would smack a solo homer, as would Gallagher one inning after that. Sandwiched in between those home runs was a sac fly-RBI by Trey Mancini, which for a short period brought the O’s to within one. But it wasn’t to be their night.

One thing about Kansas City, who like the Orioles are now in rebuilding mode after some great years – they don’t really take their foot off the gas. It’s easy enough to say that you should never take your foot off the gas, but let’s face facts; when you’re up big it’s easy to do. I can tell you from personal experience that I’ve done it many times – I play pickup basketball every week, and we play games to seven. If my team’s up 6-0, generally we’ll end up winning 7-3 or 7-4. Because instinctively you kind of take your foot off the gas.

Kansas City doesn’t seem to do that. They keep it going, and they add runs on if they can. When the smoke cleared last night they had won the game 9-2. It’s almost a Bill Belichek-like mentality in that it’s not their job to stop their offense.

Again however, the good news for the Orioles is that Cedric Mullins is coming along as a player. One thing that’s interesting is that many people love to decry the Orioles’ minor league system. People think that they can’t develop talent, and they use the fact that so many players leave the organization and thrive as evidence of that. While there are legitimate criticisms to be made, Mullins appears to be evidence that the idea of talent development with the Orioles isn’t a foreign one.

The series continues this evening at Kaufman Stadium. Dylan Bundy gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Kansas City’s Heath Fillmyer. Game time is set for 7:15 PM.

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