Scott can’t close door in 4-run 7th inning
Long after this month’s trade frenzy is finished, and likely long into the organizational rebuild the Orioles are about to begin, Tanner Scott will still be here.
More so than almost any other player on their current roster, Scott has the youth and potential — not to mention a fastball that has bumped up past 100 mph this summer — to carve out his role as a cornerstone bullpen piece in Baltimore.
None of that lessens the sting of nights like Friday, when he couldn’t close the door in Alex Cobb’s seventh inning and turned a tie game at Camden Yards into an eventual 5-4 loss to a similarly struggling Texas Rangers team (41-54).
With just two games left before the All-Star break, the Orioles (26-69) have lost three straight and 10 of12 overall. That Friday’s defeat can be chalked up to a learning experience is little consolation.
Scott, who has been touted as a potential closer for the Orioles down the line, entered after Cobb allowed a one-out single in the seventh. The left-handed Scott came on to face the left-handed Joey Gallo, who had homered off Cobb for the game’s first run in the fifth inning.
The 23-year-old left-hander got ahead 0-2 with a pair of fastballs on Gallo’s hands, but after a slider in the dirt and fastballs off the outer and inner halves of the plate loaded the count, Scott put a slider into the vacant batter’s box to walk him.
Rangers manager Jeff Bannister called on spare outfielder Ryan Rua off the bench, and Rua delivered his first career pinch-hit home run two pitches later, putting the Orioles down 4-1.
Scott rebounded to strike out Shin-Soo Choo after a visit from pitching coach Roger McDowell, but then walked Elvis Andrus on five pitches. He scored on Nomar Mazara’s double that extended the Rangers’ lead to 5-1, and the Orioles’ Jhan Mariñez had to get the final out of the seventh inning.
For Cobb, it meant another tough loss in a season full of them. Heandthe Orioles have nowlost in five of his eight quality starts, and his 12 losses are the most in the majors.
He has shown signs, off and on, all season that will be a fine pitcher to have around during the remaining three years of his contract.
But for as long as he’s needed to follow Cobb, Scott will be called upon in situations like Friday’s. More will be expected. He has been dominant at times, with an explosive fastball and a slider that became a legitimate out pitch last season helping him breeze through some appearances. But when he doesn’t have it, it’s apparent quickly.
The Orioles have tried to figure out how to make him more consistent. They were buoyed by the fact that he was far better at home than on the road, and believed he’d improve overall as he grew comfortable with life in the majors. But Friday marked the second time this homestand that he has struggled in his assigned inning.
Rangers pinch hitter Ryan Rua rounds the bases while getting congratulations from third base coach Tony Beasley after hitting a three-run home run in the seventh inning off of Orioles reliever Tanner Scott.