Valdez (2-0) recorded the win in a 7-6 victory during the second game of Tuesday's doubleheader against the Mariners, giving up one hit and striking out one in a scoreless seventh inning. The changeup specialist entered the game after the M's had tied things up off Adam Plutko in the top half of the seventh, and Valdez was rewarded for his efforts when the O's walked it off on a Ramon Urias single. Valdez has a 1,42 ERA and 6:1 K:BB through 6.1 innings to begin the season with two saves in addition to his two wins, and for the moment he's manager Brandon Hyde's most trusted high-leverage arm.
Valdez allowed one run on two hits in one inning, taking a blown save in Saturday's extra-inning loss to the Red Sox. Valdez allowed a pair of one-out singles before Bobby Dalbec hit into a fielder's choice that brought home the game-tying run. That was the first earned run again Valdez this season. He is now 2-for-3 in save chances with a 1.69 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and five strikeouts across 5.1 innings. The 36-year-old right-hander has been solid to start 2021 and should continue to see closing opportunities despite Saturday's misstep.
Valdez (1-0) picked up a win after giving up an unearned run on two hits while striking out three over 2.1 innings Wednesday against the Yankees. Valdez entered the game with two outs in the eighth after the Yankees tied it up and were threatening to take the lead with Gio Urshela in scoring position. He was able to get the game into extra innings by sending down the Yankees' top four hitters in order and was one out away from closing it out in the 10th before Kyle Higashioka ripped a single to right to tie the game up at three apiece. When the O's scored in the following frame and ultimately closed out the victory, Valdez picked up his first win of the season. The 36-year-old is quite the story, as he was out of affiliated baseball entirely between 2011 and 2015 and again from 2017 to 2019 before the Orioles selected his contract late in the 2020 season. Hunter Harvey is expected to be out for a while after suffering an oblique strain in spring training, which has allowed Valdez to take hold of the closer role. He already has two saves and a win to his name in three appearances this season, locking down games for an Orioles squad that has gotten off to a surprising 4-2 start.
Valdez earned his second save of the season Saturday against the Red Sox, striking out one while allowing a walk and a hit by pitch in a scoreless ninth inning. The Orioles didn't announce a closer prior to the start of the year, but it sure seems as though Valdez has the job, as he's gotten the save opportunity in the Orioles' first two games, with Tanner Scott pitching in the eighth on both occasions. He didn't make it easy on himself Saturday, allowing the first two batters he faced to reach base, but he got the job done in the end.
Valdez gave up a hit and struck out one in a scoreless ninth inning during Friday's win over the Red Sox to pick up his first save of the season. The right-hander was warming up as early as the seventh inning in case starter John Means ran into trouble, but after Means finished the seventh and Tanner Scott handled the eighth, Valdez got his turn to protect a 3-0 lead in the final frame. O's manager Brandon Hyde will likely vary who gets save chances for Baltimore just as he has the last couple years, but Valdez is firmly part of the team's high-leverage mix.
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