Twelve Orioles Thoughts following 6-4 win over Kansas City

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With the Orioles besting Kansas City in a dramatic 6-4 walk-off victory to open a three-game set on Monday night, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:

1. Jordan Westburg had never hit a walk-off home run at any level of his career. He picked a good time for it as he drove an 0-2 fastball from Nick Anderson over the grounds crew shed, flashing the power he displayed throughout his minor-league career. What a fun moment.

2. The bullpen was tested for the first time in 2024 with Yennier Cano getting into a bases-loaded jam and escaping in the eighth and Craig Kimbrel surrendering a bloop single, two stolen bases, and a sacrifice fly to blow his first save opportunity. No reason for panic, but shaky.

3. Watching Dairon Blanco swipe those bags in the ninth brought back unpleasant memories of Jarrod Dyson, “that’s what speed do,” and the 2014 Royals. Adley Rutschman made a heck of a throw to even make that play close at third base. 

4. It’s no secret that Ryan Mountcastle is a streaky hitter, and he continued his red-hot start with a two-run bomb over the big wall in left and a run-scoring infield single in the eighth. He also made a terrific defensive play to save a run in the seventh. 

5. Dean Kremer allowed a pair of two-out long balls in the third inning and became the first Orioles starter not to complete six innings, but he was otherwise solid in his season debut. Credit him for overcoming two uncharacteristic errors from his defense in the first inning. 

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6. Kremer’s 14 swinging strikes matched his second-highest total from last season with 10 of those whiffs coming against his four-seam fastball and cutter. Orioles starters continue to miss plenty of bats to begin the season as Kremer struck out five in 5 1/3 innings. 

7. Anthony Santander singled in the fourth for his eighth RBI, which is tied for the third most in club history through the first four games. He only needed to double that total to match Chris Davis’ record (16) in 2013, which was one of the most unbelievable stretches I’ve seen.

8. After facing old friend Aaron Hicks in the opening series, Orioles players and coaches exchanged pleasantries with Adam Frazier prior to Monday’s game. Hicks went 0-for-6 with five strikeouts and a walk, so Frazier would hope to fare a little better against his former club. He went 0-for-2 on Monday. 

9. Colton Cowser struck out as a pinch hitter and continues waiting for his first start despite Cedric Mullins and Austin Hays starting slowly. I’ll maintain that using Cowser Cowser as essentially a fourth starting outfielder would help his development and efforts to keep the incumbents fresh and productive all season.

10. It’s crazy to remember the debate between Rutschman and Bobby Witt Jr. for the top pick in the 2019 draft before Mike Elias took Rutschman and then Gunnar Henderson — who’s a full year younger than Witt — 42nd. Nothing against the talented Royals shortstop, but that couldn’t have worked any better.

11. The results will mean more in the coming weeks, but Hyde dismissed any concern about John Means allowing seven runs, two home runs, and six hits in Sunday’s first rehab start lasting only one inning. “I know the numbers didn’t show great success, but he felt good physically.” 

12. Though a couple players said the “handlebars” celebration isn’t the official 2024 dugout ritual yet, it’s a clear downgrade from the amusement of last year’s “homer hose” — we know it was really the “dong bong” — celebration. No one solicits my opinion on these matters, of course. 

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