After trading two veteran pitchers for prospects Sunday afternoon, the Orioles continued their makeover by sending Miguel Castro to the Mets minutes before Monday’s 4 p.m. ET trade deadline. By then, the ripple effects of what was a transformational weekend for Baltimore were already visible. Separation
“The guys are going to have to step up,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “That’s the nature of the business, and it was deadline day.”
• The score of the box
Making his first Major League start after two relief appearances, Akin struck out six solid 4 1/3 innings at Sahlen Field. Starting from Milone’s former rotational slot a day after being traded to the Braves, Akin held Toronto to three hits and two unearned runs before Anthony Santander’s double RBI tied for sixth. It was the kind of performance that suggests Akin’s days as an auxiliary piece are behind him; with Milone gone, prospect # 15 from the O by MLB pipeline is likely to stay in the rotation.
“Keegan was fantastic,” Hyde said. “He was excellent. I loved all of the opening hits, how aggressive he was with his fastball and how he challenged their hitters. These were guys he faced in the minor leagues and I think he had a good idea of how to attack them, and he did.
Former best prospect Tate could see more high-leverage opportunities against righties with Castro and Givens elsewhere, just as Tanner Scott did in light of Richard Bleier’s trade with the Marlins earlier this this month. Scott and Tate combined to record nine big strikeouts on Sunday before the O’s took the doubles lead in the 11th inning of
“It was an amazing, instinctive, veteran type game,” said Hyde. “It’s a shortstop reading game over there. We had an inexperienced second baseman and first baseman for a double cup. Iggy recognized that we weren’t in the right place, sprinted over there and took a hell of a hold, twirl and throw to the plate. It was a great game by a very great defensive player.
Taken in check early by Chase Anderson, the Orioles wasted a chance to take the lead in the 10th, when Teoscar Hernández threw automatic runner Mason Williams at home trying to score on Santander’s fly from short-right. Winning pitcher Cesar Valdez then held Toronto off the board, with a five-man infielder at the bottom of the frame, to help Baltimore break their five-game losing streak. The victory was his first against the Blue Jays this season in seven tries.
The Orioles are 15-19 as the final month of the season approaches, and they were one of the few clear sellers in what was a deadline sellers’ market. While a playoff berth remains close at hand, the next three weeks should mean more as a showcase for prospects like Akin, Hunter Harvey, recently promoted Ryan Mountcastle and possibly Dean Kremer, who the O’s all have. treated with caution so far. Akin was their Organizational Pitcher of the Year in 2018; he spent the entire year 19 at Triple-A Norfolk working to improve his command, and he also led the International League in strikeouts. Monday’s departure came after two rescue appearances; the next few could dictate how Akin fits into Baltimore’s plans for 21 and beyond.
“It’s been a whirlwind of emotions, being a starter most of my career and then going to the bullpen and starting over,” Akin said. “My biggest thing is to prove that I can pitch all my strikes and limit marches. At the end of the day, I want to show that I’m happy to be here and prove myself. “
After trading Castro on Monday’s deadline, the Orioles will be immediately reunited with the right-hander when they return home for a two-game streak against the Mets on Tuesday. This will be the first meeting between the two teams since 2018. Right-hander Asher Wojciechowski (1-3, 5.13 ERA) will start for the Orioles. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:35 p.m. ET from Oriole Park in Camden Yards, live on MLB.TV.
Joe Trezza covers the Orioles for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JoeTrezz.