It’s tough to argue with David Hess‘ outing last night in Cleveland for the Baltimore Orioles. Hess’ line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 4 BB, 3 K. As a starting pitcher your aim is to put your team in a position to win. And Hess did that.
Hess threw one bad pitch, and it ended up in the stands. Ramirez smacked a two-run homer in the last of the first. And in fact, there were a couple of times early when it appeared that this game was going to get away from the Orioles and David Hess. However he was always able to buckle down and find a way to pitch out of trouble. And that’s to his credit.
Hess of course has been getting an extended look this year, even well before the Orioles had committed to rebuilding. His early returns were very position – very similar to last night. However he’s had a few struggles, but nothing that isn’t expected of a young starting pitcher. After a couple of outings there’s a book on you, and professional hitters and hitting coaches are going to figure you out to a degree.
But tonight was definitely a step forward for Hess, albeit in a losing effort. Hess addressed his the opportunity he’s being given after the game (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):
Right now, there’s really no question that opportunities are there, so it’s a good opportunity to go out and show what I can do. With the group of guys we have going forward, we’re trying to come together as a team and really find ways to win. So, I think anytime I have an opportunity to contribute to that, it really does mean a lot to be able to do that. Really just going forward that’s what we are looking at.
Trey Mancini would cut the Cleveland lead to 2-1 with an RBI-single in the eighth. But the O’s could only muster the one run, and fell by that 2-1 score. Miguel Castro also pitched to a very strong scoreless outing for two innings in relief of David Hess. And that’s just as important to the rebuilding effort as anything else – including starting pitching. Heck, you could argue that it’s even more important, given the nature of the game nowadays in terms of bullpen use.