David Hess is the first Baltimore Orioles’ pitcher to record a quality start in 2019. If you’re keeping track at home, that is. And Hess put on quite a performance at that. Hess’ line: 6.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K.
Hess was also the beneficiary of the Birds scoring runs early and often. Jonathan Villar smacked a two-run home run early in the first inning. That not only set the tone for the rest of the inning, but also for the game.
Later in that first inning Chris Davis would come up, and with the bases loaded at that. Davis worked the count full, refusing to swing at a would-be called strike three. And eventually Davis would draw a walk, scoring the Birds’s fourth run of the game. Rio Ruiz would later score on a pass ball, and Trey Mancini added a sac fly-RBI in the second to give the O’s a 5-0 lead.
During Spring Training Chris Davis swung at a lot of pitches out of the strike zone, and looked at several called third strikes on the black. Following that was frustrating for a lot of fans, and I’m sure for Davis himself. However that’s why they play those spring games – to get the players ready for the regular season.
Here now we had Davis with a situation where he could have broken the game wide open early. However he wasn’t about to go after bad pitches just to wish on a prayer in a sense. He worked the count, probably with some of those spring at-bats in his mind. While technically he didn’t break the game open per se, he netted the Orioles a run. Which probably wouldn’t have been the case had he pushed too hard.
The story of the game of course was manager Brandon Hyde removing Hess in the seventh inning. With a no-hitter going. Hyde said after the game that Hess was on a pitch count since he had to pitch on Thursday in NY. So the move was all about Hess’ long-term health and that of the team.
Was it a curious move by Hyde? Yes. However he gave a legitimate reason as to why he lifted Hess. Maybe you as a fan accept that explanation, maybe you don’t. But quite simply, it is what it is.
Mancini would smack a solo homer in that seventh inning as well. However Toronto would get a two-run homer in the last of the seventh following Hess’ departure. They would also put two across in the last of the ninth to make it interesting, but it was too little too late. With the win, the Birds snapped a ten-game losing streak in Toronto.
The series at Rogers Centre in Toronto continues tomorrow evening. Andrew Cashner gets the call for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Marcus Stroman. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.