It was a rough start to the season for the Bowie Baysox, but the Baltimore Orioles affiliate is still fighting for a championship title.
If the Bowie Baysox want to end the 2019 season hoisting a championship banner, Friday night’s game against the Trenton Thunder is a must-win for the Baltimore Orioles Double-A affiliate.
After falling on Thursday night in game three of the best-of-five series, the Baysox face a 2-1 deficit, but will have the luxury of finishing this series at home in Bowie. Due to an unfortunate injury to a key member of Bowie’s pitching staff, the Baysox will turn to RHP Tyler Herb to keep the season afloat.
The excitement among Orioles fans who closely follow the Orioles minor league system was tempered a bit as the New York Yankees decided to use the Eastern League Championship series to send an abundance of major league pitchers to Trenton for rehab work. While not against the rules, it was a move you would expect the New York Yankees to make.
In game one of the series, Jordan Montgomery, Dellin Betances, and Stephen Tarpley combined to allow two runs on four hits across five innings of work. Tarpley left with the game tied in the sixth inning before his offense erupted for three runs to take the lead and never look back. Despite 13 strikeouts from Michael Baumann, Zach Muckenhirn, and Diogenes Almengo, the Baysox weren’t able to muster quite enough offense to overcome three major league pitchers.
Game two figured to be much of the same, with Trenton sending out two-time MLB All-Star Luis Severino to the mound against Cody Sedlock. We should have known it was a bad idea to bet against Sedlock after the bounce-back season he has had. The Orioles prospect out-dueled Severino with five innings of one-run ball (Severino gave up four runs in 3.2 IP) and was helped out by a seven-run, nine-hit performance from his offense, including a three-hit night for outfielder TJ Nichting and a multi-hit day for outfielder Yusniel Diaz.
Bowie was able to board the bus back to Bowie with the series tied and LHP Alex Wells prepared to take the ball for game three at home.
Game three saw no major league players on rehab, just a battle between the two best teams in the Eastern League. It was Alex Wells and his sub-3.00 ERA and 1.07 WHIP vs Clarke Schmidt, a Top 30 prospect and former first-round pick of New York who entered the contest riding a scoreless streak of more than 20 innings
Unfortunately, outside of two hits from leadoff man Cedric Mullins, the Bowie offense managed just one other hit, a single off the bat of Preston Palmeiro. Wells allowed just two runs on six hits, struck out eight and didn’t walk a single batter, but his dazzling pitching performance wasn’t enough to take game three.
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With the game tied at one in the seventh inning, Alex Wells gave up three-straight singles to load the bases with no outs. It appeared he was going to work out of this jam after striking out the next two hitters, but Trenton baserunner Hoy Jun Park managed to steal home and put the Thunder up 2-1 before Wells struck out his third hitter of the frame. Park’s run proved to be the winning run.
Bowie now faces a must-win game on Friday night at Prince George’s Stadium as they turn to Tyler Herb. We won’t be seeing Zac Lowther in this series, one of the top pitchers in the Eastern League this season, after he was placed on the Injured List (general soreness) just a few days ago. As much fun as a championship would be, Lowther’s long term health is ultimately more important.
Herb was originally acquired earlier this season from San Francisco in exchange for outfielder Mike Yastrzemski. He began the year with Bowie, making a few starts before spending a big chunk of the season in Triple-A with the Norfolk Tides. With Norfolk, Herb went 4-8 with a 7.16 ERA and struggled with walks (37 in 76 innings), but he’s been dominant since returning to Bowie.
Since the All-Star break, Herb is 4-0 with a 2.14 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and a .174 average against. Walks have still been an issue, but he’s limited opponents to just 26 hits in 42 innings. The 27-year-old may not bring a big prospect status to the mound, but he’s a veteran minor league pitcher who is more than capable of sending this series to a decisive game five, as long as he gets some offensive run support.
You can watch tonight’s game on MiLB TV or head down the road to Bowie and take in the game live at Prince George’s Stadium. That would be my recommendation.