The Baltimore Orioles currently sit in a playoff position, but that isn’t stopping them from keeping one eye on the future.
Left-hander DL Hall will be called up from Triple-A Norfolk to make his major league debut on Saturday afternoon against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla.
The Georgia native was a first-round draft pick (No. 21 overall) in 2017, but injuries and control problems kept him in the minor leagues — until now.
Hall, 23, was a combined 2-7 with a 4.52 ERA in a total of 20 starts for three teams in the Baltimore farm system this year. He is ranked as the Orioles’ fourth-best prospect by Baseball America and MLB Pipeline.
“He’s a competitor,” said Baltimore catcher Adley Rutschman, Hall’s former minor league teammate. “I don’t know how he’s going to perform (Saturday), but I know he’s going to bring his best. He’s a phenomenal, phenomenal pitcher with tremendous stuff, and I have all the confidence in the world that he’s going to do great. …
“I’m just excited to see the look on his face when he’s experiencing everything for the first time. I’m really excited to see him. Our group chat, it’s been going off with him. It’s been fun.”
Hall will join a Baltimore team that is the only American League team to have won eight of its past 10 games. The Orioles claimed the opener of the three-game series against the Rays on Friday, 10-3, behind five hits from Jorge Mateo, four hits from Rougned Odor and three hits apiece from Cedric Mullins and Anthony Santander.
Rutschman and Mullins both homered in the victory.
“Definitely one of our better offensive nights,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “I love how we kept the line moving a couple of those innings, with some really good two-strike, two-out hitting. Got a bunch of big hits all the way down the lineup.”
The Rays managed just five hits, including a two-run homer by Randy Arozarena, while taking their third consecutive defeat. They slipped a half-game behind the Orioles in the chase for the third and final AL wild card.
“We’ve got to find a way to get out of this a little bit,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash. “It’s not coming easy for anybody.”
The Rays will hope their stopper, Shane McClanahan (10-5, 2.24 ERA), can aid their recovery.
The left-hander, who started for the AL in the All-Star Game, leads the league in both WHIP (0.83) and opponents’ batting average (.184) and ranks third in both ERA and strikeouts (161).
However, McClanahan is riding his first two-game losing streak of the season. He allowed five runs in 4 1/3 innings against the Cleveland Guardians on July 31, then yielded four runs in 6 1/3 innings against the Detroit Tigers on Aug. 6.
The surging Orioles are 38-23 — 8-2 in August — and their hitting is a big reason. Even from a distance, Tampa Bay third baseman Yandy Diaz said the current Orioles are noticeably better than they had been.
“They’re a more complete team,” Diaz said through team interpreter Manny Navarro. “Their offense is a little bit better, and their pitching is playing very well.”
–Field Level Media