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Twelve Orioles Thoughts following Holliday’s debut in 7-5 win over Boston

With the Orioles storming back for a 7-5 win over Boston in Jackson Holliday’s major league debut on Wednesday night, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:

1. On a night when the spotlight was on Holliday, two other former first-round picks — Jordan Westburg and Colton Cowser — drove in a combined five runs to lead a comeback from a 5-0 deficit. Westburg’s go-ahead three-run shot was massive. It’s a heck of a time to be an Orioles fan.

2. Holliday went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, but he drove in a run with a grounder in the sixth inning and still had some competitive at-bats despite showing more swing and miss than you’d like. Red Sox starter Kutter Crawford gave the Orioles plenty of trouble over five scoreless frames. 

3. After smoothly starting a 4-6-3 double play in the second, Holliday couldn’t run down a pop fly to shallow center in the third that Cedric Mullins really should have tried to run down. That wasn’t an easy play, but it led to a Boston run. 

4. Between that and a poor 3-2 call from home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman that led to a Rafael Devers walk and a Triston Casas two-run homer with two outs in the fifth, Cole Irvin pitched to some tough luck. Still, the lefty starter wasn’t good enough overall. 

5. The Orioles bullpen was sensational with four scoreless innings that included nine strikeouts, one walk, and just one hit allowed. Lefty Keegan Akin entered the season as the long man, but he’ll find himself in more and more higher-leverage spots if he keeps this up.  

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6. The Red Sox entered this series with a surprising 7-3 record, but the Boston defense has been awful with catcher Connor Wong having a particularly disastrous seventh inning. You’re not going to get away with defending like that when facing AL East opponents. 

7. The rebuilding Orioles had already turned the corner by the time Mike Elias drafted Holliday first overall, but baseball’s top prospect joining a club coming off a 101-win season speaks to how remarkably well the plan has gone over the last 21 months. Fun times in Baltimore.

8. You’re not going to convince me that the handling of Holliday wasn’t weird or that those 10 games at Triple-A were all that consequential to the objectives laid out by Elias for reassigning him three weeks ago, but it’s great to see such a talented 20-year-old in the majors. 

9. Seeing the reverence shared between the Ripken and Holliday families makes the rookie wearing Cal Ripken Sr.’s No. 7 that much cooler. Matt Holliday also wore that number for most of his eight-year run with St. Louis where he made four All-Star Games and played in two World Series. 

10. Holliday became the youngest player to make his major league debut with the Orioles since a 19-year-old Dylan Bundy pitched at Fenway Park late in the 2012 season. A 20-year-old Manny Machado debuted several weeks prior to that. It’s hard to believe that was 12 years ago.

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11. There was much debate between Holliday and Druw Jones — the son of 10-time Gold Glove center fielder Andruw Jones — for the top pick in 2022. Jones hurt his shoulder right after signing with Arizona and has dealt with multiple injuries while remaining at Low-A Visalia. Luck goes into development too.

12. A promotion to the majors also meant disappointment for someone else as Tony Kemp was designated for assignment. The veteran second baseman was never long for this roster, but might we all show such grace dealing with disappointment as Kemp did wishing Holliday luck. Impressive. 

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