Down on the farm, the Delmarva Shorebirds have a seen a recent streak of unhittable pitching from Baltimore Orioles starting pitching prospects.
Football season is here, the weather is starting to cool a bit, and baseball season is entering the final stretch of the regular season. Down on the farm, there are just four days remaining in the minor league season before playoffs get underway, except in the Florida State League and Gulf Coast League where the 2019 season has ended due to Hurricane Dorian. Many affiliates of the Baltimore Orioles are having impressive seasons, but one is standing out above the rest.
As of Friday morning, the Bowie Baysox hold a two-game lead in their division and have a magic number of one to clinch an Eastern League playoff spot, the GCL Orioles finished the year with a 38-15 record, tops in their division, the Aberdeen Ironbirds find themselves in a fight for a divisional title and playoff spot (currently one game out) and the Delmarva Shorebirds continue to raise the bar just when you think this team is already playing at peak performance.
With an overall record of 88-46, the Baltimore Orioles affiliate has more wins than any other team in all of minor league baseball. I repeat, not just more wins than any other team in the South Atlantic League, but more than any other affiliate in the country.
We will get into player breakdowns and deeper overall impressions of the Shorebirds season once it’s all said and done, but we have to take a moment to start your Friday with some hopeful news in Birdland and look at what this Shorebirds team has accomplished over the last few days.
Delmarva went into Lakewood, New Jersey on Monday for a four-game set against the Lakewood Blue Claws, the Single-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. The Shorebirds split this four-game set but have seen a dominant stretch of starts from their pitching, including top pitching prospect Grayson Rodriguez.
Gray Fenter took the ball on Tuesday night, a 7-0 Delmarva win backed by Adley Rutschman‘s first Delmarva home run and a three-hit day for outfielder Shayne Fontana, a 23rd-round pick of the Orioles in this year’s draft.
Fenter worked five perfect innings in his 17th start of the year, striking out 11 Lakewood hitters in the process. Matthew Hammonds would relieve Fenter in the sixth, working four shutout innings of his own to complete the combined-shutout for Delmarva, striking out a total of 16.
More from Birds Watcher
- Baltimore Orioles Sign RP Mychal Givens
- Gunnar Henderson: Destroyer of Four-Seam Fastballs
- Which Current Baltimore Orioles Pitchers Have the Best Curveballs?
- Orioles News: Should the O’s Pursue Eovaldi? + More MLB News
- Should the Baltimore Orioles Consider Signing Nathan Eovaldi?
Lakewood managed a 1-0 win on Wednesday night, but not before LHP Drew Rom, the 19th-ranked prospect in the Orioles system, logged five no-hit innings, walking one and striking out six. Rom, 19, was coming off his worst start of the year, giving up seven runs on ten hits in 3.2 innings one week prior. He responded with his seventh outing of at least five innings without allowing an earned run.
Enter Grayson Rodriguez, the 45th-ranked prospect in baseball, on Thursday night. In his final start of the regular season, Rodriguez showcased his impressive repertoire of pitches and dominating presence on the mound with six innings of no-hit ball. He allowed one unearned run and one walk while striking out seven Lakewood hitters. It was his 10th win of the season and lowered his ERA to 2.68 this season, through 94 total innings.
Let’s do the math here. That’s 16 combined no-hit innings from Fenter, Rom, and Rodriguez, with 24 strikeouts and just one walk. The pitching staff has also increased their South Atlantic League record number of strikeouts to 1,342 this season, 30 more than the next best mark and 77 more than third place.
Delmarva ends their season at home with a four-game set against the Kannapolis Intimidators before beginning the SAL playoffs on Wednesday, September 4.. If you are close by, I highly encourage you to help pack the stands as the Shorebirds look to bring home a championship trophy. Five of the Orioles Top 30 prospects will be in action, including another chance to see the duo of Rutschman and Rodriguez. This is can’t miss baseball, folks.