The Orioles brought in Jack Flaherty to add pitching depth, allowing them to move to a six-man rotation and affording them the option to add extra rest as needed.
They didn’t necessarily expect that same piece to be the one who would need that rest so early into his tenure with the team. But, when Flaherty didn’t “bounce back” after giving up seven runs in three innings Aug. 15, the Orioles were easily able to give him a few days off.
On Sunday, in his first start back, Flaherty looked sharper than he did in that last outing. He gave up three runs in 5 2/3 innings, tossing only 84 pitches as manager Brandon Hyde was cautious with his count. Flaherty, though, was overshadowed by Rockies starter Ty Blach, who pitched seven innings of one-run ball for Colorado as it beat the Orioles 4-3.
“Give Ty credit. I thought he threw the ball really well,” Hyde said. “We didn’t adjust very well.”
Flaherty, like the rest of the Orioles’ pitching staff, has already experienced a heavy workload this season. He pitched 109 2/3 innings with the Cardinals before being traded Aug. 1 and has since tacked on 14 more. When he said he had general soreness, the Orioles opted to be cautious with him and pull him back a few days.
The break seemed to do the trick — he gave up one run each in the fourth, fifth and sixth but made it out without letting things spiral.
“I thought I got better as the game went on. I started making better pitches,” he said. “I made a couple mistakes and a couple of two-strike pitches that could have been put in better spots.”
Blach, who spent part of 2019 in the Orioles’ organization before undergoing Tommy John surgery, had a stellar day, though. The Orioles managed just one run off him — a solo homer by Cedric Mullins in the fifth. It wasn’t until he was removed after seven — an interesting choice considering the Rockies bullpen had blown six straight games — that the Orioles finally got something going. Ryan O’Hearn, pinch hitting for Jorge Mateo, hit a two-run homer off Jake Bird to tie the game.
But this time, it wasn’t the Rockies bullpen that let in the winning run. The Orioles, managing a world without Félix Bautista available, sent in Yennier Cano for the top of the ninth for the second game in a row. An unearned run scored to give the Rockies the lead, and the Orioles had no response in the bottom of the ninth.
“I don’t think we swung the bat very well, today or this series,” Hyde said. “Big homer by O’Hearn there, but just not enough offense.”