Results tagged ‘ Cedric Mullins ’
The Baltimore Orioles are a hot mess. Unfortunately they have been since April when the world seemingly stopped turning. However as I’ve written over time, Spring Training 2019 is going to be the most important camp in awhile. Not only to see who plays where, but also to see how everyone meshes under the new manager. And also to figure out who “everyone” is.
However the 2019 Orioles are going to have an identity problem from the outset. Who exactly are they? Or rather, who will they be? I suspect that Baltimoreans and Orioles fans will take the time to learn who these guys are as we go along. Your true die hards will know everyone out of Spring Training. But soon enough the new team will be guys that fans recognize by name.
But what do the Orioles do until that happens? How do you market things such as season ticket packages when you can’t even inform fans who they’ll be paying to see play? Similarly, how does the team draw fans to their annual FanFest celebration when they don’t have any star power (or even a manager) to hock?
The same is true in terms of merchandising. Cedric Mullins‘ jersey and shirsey will only sell so much. Needless to say I think that Birdland is excited to have Mullins here, but again he’s only one guy. And it’s still uncleaer as to how much people are going to be willing to buy in right now. Needless to say, the marketing department has it’s work cut out for it.
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.
In game one of today’s doubleheader with New York, the Baltimore Orioles were haunted by the home run ball. When you can’t keep the ball in the ballpark, it’s going to be a long day. Compound that with having to play another one later on, and it’s an even longer day.
Jimmy Yacabonis got the start in the first part of today’s twin bill, and with less-than-desirable results. Yacabonis’ line: 3.1 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 2 BB, 3 K. The Orioles briefly held a lead in this game. With New York already leading 1-0, Renato Nunez‘s two-RBI single gave the O’s a 2-1 lead. At that point you thought maybe the Birds had a fighting chance this afternoon.
But it wasn’t to be. Hicks’ RBI-single tied the game at two in the third. Later in the inning Andujar’s two-run homer gave New York a 4-2 lead. One inning later in the fourth Gardener added a two-run shot of his own. New York would later get an RBI-single from Voit, and additional solo homers by Torres and Hicks, rounding out their scoring.
There was one brief but nice moment for Orioles fans. Walker hit what appeared to be a homer to straightaway center field with two outs in the seventh. Cedric Mullins lept at the wall and brought it back into the ballpark for the final out of the inning. This is something that Orioles fans should probably get used to seeing…
…but perhaps more poignantly, it’s something that opposing teams should get used to seeing. Mullins plays a good center field, and that’s part of the reason why he’s here. Mullins is the future in the outfield for the Orioles. And Mullins would also add an RBI-single in the last of the ninth, cutting NY’s margin of victory to 10-3.
This is a tough game to have to endure for an Orioles’ bullpen that’s going to be right back at it later tonight in game two of a twin bill. Ideally however you want your starter to go deeper than 3.1 innings into the game. As I’ve said many times, it begins and ends with starting pitching. Now admittedly when you bring a guy up from the minors for the start, that may not necessarily bode well. But your hope is that the guy you throw out there is going to go deeper into the game than that.
Today was an all-around good day for the Baltimore Orioles. First and foremost they defeated the Cleveland Indians. However the Orioles and Orioles fans also got to see center fielder Cedric Mullins smack his first major league home run in the game. Not only that, but it came at a clutch moment.
Not to be overshadowed, Alex Cobb pitched a masterful outing this afternoon; his first complete game in five years. Cobb’s line: 9 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 3 K. I admittedly thought that Cobb should have been lifted for the ninth inning. However Buck Showalter knows better than I. And in the end if the result means anything, it was the right thing to do – leaving him out there, that is.
The Orioles threatened in the third with a couple of runners on base and Jonathan Villar coming to the plate. And Villar gave the Birds a lead they would never surrender with a three-run home run. And save for the sixth inning, Cobb and the Orioles’ defense didn’t appear poised to let Cleveland back in the game. In that sixth inning Cleveland posted an RBI-single by Lindor, and a sac fly-RBI by Brantley.
That made things much tighter than they were at 3-0. However as I said, Mullins’ first big league homer came at a clutch point in the game. He hit it in the eighth on what looked at first to be a pop fly to right field. But it carried all the way out, giving the Orioles a very important insurance run, and an eventual 4-2 victory.
That’s a moment that Cedric Mullins and his family will remember forever. There are certain moments for a ballplayer that always stand out, regardless of how far he goes in his career. Whether you’re a player who fizzled out after just a few years or a Hall of Famer, you always remember your debut, your first big league hit, and your first big league home run. And/or first big league strikeout for a pitcher. So for Mullins, today is very much a historic day and moment.
And he got some very sage advice yesterday from one of the best hitters of his generation, former Cleveland Indian Kenny Lofton. When asked what Lofton told him, Mullins replied (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):
Just to stay in my game. To self-evaluate myself and just understand what my role is, what my goal is.
I always thought of Lofton as a very gracious player during his career. But it was truly a touch of class for him to go into the visitors’ clubhouse and talk to a young player like Cedric Mullins – one that was about to play against his former team. But I can’t say it totally surprises me, because Lofton was always and still is a class act.
The O’s will have a shot at a series victory tomorrow in the finale at Progressive Field. Yefry Ramirez gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Cleveland’s Mike Clevinger. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.
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.
The Baltimore Orioles do in fact have several players in the minor leagues who are beating down the door to come to the big leagues – namely, Cedric Mullins. His name’s been thrown around various outlets for quite some time, and it in fact does appear that he’s ready. So why not bring him and others up to the majors?
It’s all but a foregone conclusion that at some point the Orioles are going to get younger this year. What’s unclear is which veteran players will stay and which will go. That depends largely on the return that the Orioles are able to get on the Machado’s of the world. It’s been reported in the national media that the Orioles have been much more engaged in trade discussions this time around than in the past. The question is whether or not that’s a good or bad thing.
It can’t truly be a bad thing – per se. However it could be that they’re just more attentive this time around, OR it could mean that they’re desperate to strike deals. And if that’s the case, other teams indubitably know that. Which puts those other teams in more of a position of power in wheeling and dealing. In their minds, they can probably get someone for cheaper in a sense.
That aside, I suspect that once cards start being played and trade pieces falling into place, we’ll see Mullins and perhaps others in the big leagues. Ideally the Orioles are going to want big league-ready talent for some of the players who are going to be traded. So if they can unload someone and in theory get his replacement back in a trade right away, that’s a plus for the Birds.
The idea thus being that when the “newbies” start showing up, someone like a Cedric Mullins gets his call to the big leagues at the same time. Then you’re in theory bringing all of these guys along at the same time. It’s called team-building.