Felix Bautista's struggles overshadow Orioles performance in All Star Game

Felix Bautista had a bump in the road in his all star game appearance

93rd MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard
93rd MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

The All-Star Game controversies surrounding the Orioles started early this season. On Friday, AL manager Dusty Baker made the controversial decision to name Austin Hays as the starting center fielder over Luis Robert of the Chicago White Sox when Mike Trout went down with an injury. On Tuesday, Baker told Red Sox closer Kenley Jansen that he would be the closer instead of Felix Bautista which caused outcry from fans across baseball.

When Bautista did get the chance to pitch on the biggest stage of his career, he struggled with control and had one poorly executed splitter that was launched into bleachers down the left field line from Rockies catcher Elias Diaz. The two-run homer gave the National League a 3-2 lead that they would sustain until the end and allowed Diaz to earn All-Star Game MVP honors. Despite the poor outing for Bautista, three other Orioles players also appeared in Yennier Cano, Austin Hays, and Adley Rutschman.

Orioles closer Felix Bautista struggles in AL All Star Game loss

Along with the game-winning homer, Bautista also allowed two walks and led the American League with 28 pitches while only recording two outs. In a week where Bautista's presence in Seattle caused some unnecessary distractions to local reporters, fans, and beat writers, Felix did not impress on a national stage despite having the most successful season of any American League reliever through the first half.

He had less control on his triple-digit velocity fastball than normal and allowed multiple pitches to sail over the head of catcher Adley Rutschman which has rarely occurred during the regular season. Jansen did finish out the inning due to King Felix's high pitch count and finished the eighth with a strikeout.

The other Oriole reliever, Yennier Cano, had a much more successful outing than Bautista despite allowing several baserunners and accumulating 24 pitches in the sixth inning. Each of Cano's three pitches worked quite well as his lethal sinker fed off his high-velocity fastball and wicked changeup. He struck out the first two batters he faced in Matt Olson and Nick Castellanos. Cano should have had a 1-2-3 inning as he allowed a weak grounder to first base from the third batter he faced, Jorge Soler.

However, Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. airmailed a throw intended for Cano which went down as an error for Guerrero and continued the sixth inning. The next batter, Austin Riley, eventually singled into right field despite two questionable ball calls which apparently just missed off the outside part of the plate with two strikes and kept Yennier from the opportunity to strike out the side. The inning finally ended once Ozzie Albies grounded out to second base.

Cano clearly was not fazed by the bright lights as he brought his best stuff to Seattle and, in typical Cano fashion, let his sinker work as batters kept grounding balls weakly to the right side. Cano proved why he belonged in the All-Star Game and why he will continue to set up for the King (or The Mountain) as the season progresses.

The lone Orioles starter, Austin Hays, had a solid game as he went 1-for-2 with a single into center field. Solid base hits have been the name of the game for Hays all season as he entered the break with the fourth-best batting average in the American League. The single came with one out in the bottom of the fifth inning against Cubs starter Justin Steele.

Hays attacked the first pitch he saw from Steele and punched the fastball in front of the center fielder Castellanos. In his first at-bat, Hays got on top of a sinker from Pirates pitcher Mitch Keller and grounded out to second base to end the second inning. Defensively, Austin did not have many opportunities in center field as the corner outfielders Randy Arozarena and Adolis Garcia each made spectacular plays to rob National League hitters of extra bases.

As for Rutschman, he went 0-for-1 and was stranded on-deck to end the game in what would have been an opportunity for him to be the hero had Jose Ramirez reached base ahead of him. In his lone at-bat, Adley worked a 2-1 count before turning on a slider from Camilo Doval of the Giants. Unfortunately, the sharp line drive landed directly in the glove of right fielder Juan Soto who was chatting with the FOX broadcasters while making the catch. Defensively, Adley had a couple rough moments that fans will not remember but his ability to work with Bautista and Cano did help calm some nerves on that end.

With four All-Stars, the Orioles showed a national audience a glimpse of why they have the third best record in baseball. Despite a rough outing from Bautista, it was a successful All-Star week for the Orioles as they sent two players to the Futures Game in Jackson Holliday and Heston Kjerstad.

Rutschman also captivated Seattle with his Home Run Derby appearance as well and the Orioles also had a successful couple of days on the draft front as they got a talented outfielder in Enrique Bradfield with the seventeenth overall pick. All in all, All-Star Week was a success for the O's as they have two more days off before returning to action on Friday against the Marlins.