Sup­port lack­ing for O’s rookie

Ramirez be­trayed by ’pen, of­fense as club’s slide hits seven con­sec­u­tive games

Baltimore Sun - - SPORTS - By Jon Me­oli

Ori­oles debu­tante Ye­fry Ramirez prob­a­bly de­served bet­ter than the loss he took and the three runs on his ac­count from his first big league start Wed­nes­day against the Bos­ton Red Sox.

But if he re­mains with the club for long past its 5-1 loss — which clinched the Ori­oles’ third seven-game los­ing streak and dropped them to 1948 — he’ll learn that life in this ro­ta­tion can pro­vide plenty of chal­lenges that just pitch­ing well doesn’t solve.

Mookie Betts home­red to cen­ter field with one out in the third in­ning, and both of the fifth-in­ning walks Ramirez is­sued ended up scor­ing off re­liever Mike Wright Jr., but Ramirez other­wise avoided trou­ble, strik­ing out six and coax­ing plenty of weak con­tact from Bos­ton’s ea­ger hit­ters.

“I thought he held his own, for the most part,” man­ager Buck Showal­ter said. “He gave us a chance.”

He was about the only one. His of­fense man­aged just four hits as his op­po­site, Chris Fri­day, 7:05 p.m. TV: MASN2 Ra­dio: 105.7 FM

Sale, had no trou­ble carv­ing through the Ori­oles lineup.

Ramirez looked as though he’d be able to stay in stride with him for the first four in­nings, mostly thanks to a changeup that Red Sox bat­ters couldn’t pick up. He nav­i­gated most of his mi­nor league career with suc­cess thanks to a changeup that many thought was a ma­jor league cal­iber pitch. His debut showed that at least on this day, it lived up to that billing.

Five of those strike­outs came on his changeup, which at one point topped out at 87 mph, and the pitch over­all ac­counted for seven of the 13 outs he recorded be­fore giv­ing way to Wright.

His 91-94-mph fast­ball, while not ex­actly ex­pertly com­manded, was also ef­fec­tive, jump­ing on hit­ters and caus­ing plenty of lazy fly balls.

“I was proud of him,” Showal­ter said. “Tough lineup, and he com­peted, and didn’t im­plode and start walk­ing a bunch of peo­ple. You can see the mak­ings of some out pitches, and you can see why he’s won a lot of base­ball games in his mi­nor league career. I’m glad he got the op­por­tu­nity.”

Ramirez, through in­ter­preter Ramón Alar­cón, said: “I def­i­nitely felt a lit­tle bit ner­vous when I was told I was open­ing. Af­ter the game [started], af­ter a few pitches, af­ter a few in­nings, I tried to set­tle down and calm my nerves and just try to con­cen­trate on the same things I was able to do in Triple-A, to try to do it over here.”

That the Ori­oles made two er­rors and Ramirez hit a bat­ter prob­a­bly cut short his out­ing more than he’d want, and the fi­nal line of three runs on four hits in 41⁄ in­nings with six strike­outs and two walks be­trays how Ramirez fared for most of the day. He ac­knowl­edged tir­ing down the stretch.

“I think there was some fa­tigue to it as well,” Ramirez said. “I think at that point, I was try­ing to do too much and things weren’t work­ing — a com­bi­na­tion of those two things.”

He stranded a run­ner in each of his four in­nings, and his six strike­outs were the most by a de­but­ing Ori­oles pitcher since Wright fanned six on May 17, 2015.

But he would have had to be per­fect to over­come the lack of sup­port the Ori­oles of­fense gave against Sale, who was ejected in the sev­enth in­ning, and the dregs of the Bos­ton bullpen, scrap­ing across a run on a pair of walks and a sac­ri­fice fly by Jace Peter­son in the sev­enth in­ning and man­ag­ing just four hits on the day.

Wright al­lowed a pair of his own runs in 22⁄ in­nings, and af­ter Richard Bleier left with an in­jury af­ter record­ing the fi­nal out of the sixth and first out of the sev­enth, Brad Brach and My­chal Givens fin­ished it out for the Ori­oles, who have dropped 14 of their past 16 games.

KEN­NETH K. LAM/BAL­TI­MORE SUN

Ye­fry Ramirez made his ma­jor league debut for the Ori­oles, pitch­ing 41⁄ in­nings and giv­ing up four runs on four hits and three walks in a loss to the Red Sox.

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