Baltimore Orioles: David Hess struggles in big league return

The Baltimore Orioles recalled RHP David Hess in advance of last night’s game in San Diego. Unfortunately for the O’s, Hess’ start didn’t exactly go as planned. Hess’ line: 4.2 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 0 BB, 7 K.

Hess gave up back-to-back homers to Tatis and Reyes, literally on the first two pitches of the game. Not exactly an auspicious beginning. Anthony Santander‘s third inning RBI-single cut the lead to 2-1. Unfortunately for the O’s however, that’s as close as they would get.

Hess would surrender two third inning homers as well. A two-run shot to Hosmer, and a solo home run to Urias. And that ended his night. Hosmer would also add a three-run shot in the seventh to run the final score to 8-1.

Now if there’s anything positive that can be taken away from this start for Hess, it’s his seven strikeouts. Over just under five innings, that’a pretty impressive. However while Hess will take the seven strikeouts as a positive thing, it’s also indicative of the larger problem in this start.

In effect, Hess was getting too much of the strike zone. That’s why the first two hitters smacked homers – the ball was right smack in the middle of the zone. If you’re overpowering people that might be one thing. And in many cases Hess was. You don’t get seven strikeouts without overflowing people here and there.

But in at least four other cases the hitters got to Hess and smacked homers. And this illustrates one of the many reasons why pitching in fact is so challenging. Needless to say, it’s not for the faint of heart. You want to throw strikes. But if you get too much of the strike zone, you’re going to find yourself in trouble more often than not. And that’a what happened to Hess last night.

The short series in San Diego and the Kong west coast swing concludes this afternoon at Petro Park. Tom Eshelman gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by San Diego’s Dinelson Lamet. Game time is set for just after 3:30 PM.

Baltimore Orioles’ comeback falls short

David Hess pitched a good game for the Baltimore Orioles – through four innings. Hess started to lose it a bit in the fifth, mainly due to a high pitch count. And that short spell is ultimately what did the Birds in last night. Hess’ line: 4.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 BB, 3 K.

The Orioles took a 1-0 lead in the last of the fourth when Trey Mancini smacked a solo homer. However Toronto’s big push came in the fifth, as I said above. Hess loaded the bases with nobody out. To Hess’ credit, he induced a ground ball with Gurriel at the plate. While with nobody out that would have yielded a run, it also should have given the Orioles two outs – something they would have taken in theory…

…but that’s not what happened. Gurriel hit the ball just perfectly so that while they only got one run because the Orioles kept it in the infield, it went as an infield hit. So Toronto pushed a run across and kept the bases loaded with nobody out.

After Hess exited the game Miguel Castro uncorked a wild pitch, allowing a run to score and giving Toronto a 2-1 lead. Toronto would re-load the bases, and Tellez’s grand slam would break the game wide open. The Orioles trailed 6-1.

Toronto would also put two additional runs on the board, this while the Orioles were trying to come back. The Birds also netted a run on a wild pitch, however they pulled themselves closer in the last of the eighth on Chance Sisco‘s two-RBI double.

The Birds would later push across two additional runs, but the comeback attempt stalled. To their credit, the Orioles didn’t quit. It would have been easy to go into auto-pilot being down big after the grand slam. But they kept fighting, which shows their character as a team.z

Character isn’t winning the Orioles any games – for now. However it shows that this team has some spunk. And once they get stronger, down the road, that quality will help them to win games. Play until the last out…it’s something we’ve heard before.

The series concludes this evening at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Gabriel Ynoa 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.

Baltimore Orioles haunted by unearned runs

This entire season has been one where the Baltimore Orioles have had little margin for error. Heck even when everything goes perfectly, sometimes they still can’t get things right. But mistakes lead to unearned runs, which add up.

David Hess pitched four solid innings this afternoon in the finale with Colorado at Coors Field. Hess’ line: 5.2 IP, 9 H, 5 R (4 earned), 1 BB, 6 K. The Birds even spotted him a run, on Austin Wynns‘ sac bunt in the second inning. A run scored on an errant throw, and the Orioles led 1-0.

As I said, Hess pitched four solid innings. The fifth inning he started to have a few struggles. Hess’ pitch count wasn’t elevated, however the light air in Denver can tire people out quicker. One way or the other, Colorado figures him out in that sixth inning. Marquez, Hess’ pitcher counterpart, drove in a run on a squeeze bunt. Hess made an errant throw home, and the game was tied.

Hess worked out of the inning, however he had already shown his vulnerability. Arenado smacked yet another homer against Oriole pitching in the next inning, this of the two-run variety. Colorado led 3-1. That lead extended to 5-1 when Marquez smacked a two-RBI triple. Pitching against the opposing pitcher is generally thought of as easy. Apparently not for David Hess.

However the Birds battled back. Jonathan Villar smacked an RBI-single in the seventh, which was followed by a sac fly-RBI later in the inning by Dwight Smith Jr. Renato Nunez‘s RBI-single brought the O’s to within one at 5-4, however Murphy’s run scoring-single in the bottom of the seventh extended the Colorado lead back to two at 6-4.

But again, the Orioles battled back once again. Keon Broxton, who made quite an impression in his first weekend with the Orioles, smacked an RBI-double in the eighth, followed by Trey Mancini‘s two-RBI triple. But Colorado got to bat last in the ninth, and Desmond walked in the tying run. Wolters’ sac fly-RBI then gave Colorado an 8-7 walk off victory against the O’s.

I mentioned Hess’ errant throw in the fourth inning which allowed a run. On the aforementioned Murphy run scoring-single, the run scored because of an errant throw by Renato Nunez. These two mistakes both led to runs. And given that the Orioles lost by two, that kind of stands out.

But it’s never just one or two things. Oriole pitchers were also afraid to throw fastballs in the strike zone. They tried to pound the inside corners with sliders, which led to a bases-loaded situation. Colorado hitters got very patient in the ninth inning, and it cost the Orioles the game.

The Birds now come home for a quick turnaround game tomorrow afternoon on Memorial Day against Detroit at Camden Yards. Gabriel Ynoa gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Detroit’s Daniel Norris. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: New York goes bombs away at Camden Yards

As I’ve said often, it all begins and ends with starting pitching for the Baltimore Orioles. Tonight they didn’t get a very good start out of David Hess. Before the crowd had even settled in, two runners were on and Hess had given up a three-run home run to Sanchez. Hess’ line: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 9 R, 4 BB, 5 K.

Regardless of what Hess or subsequent pitchers threw out there, New York hitters found a way to put it in play, often resulting in runs. The third inning brought an RBI-double by Urshela, and a two-run homer by Frazier. When the smoke had cleared, NY had doubled their lead.

New York would put three additional runs on the board in the fifth, and the rout appears to be on. However the Birds did try to pick their way back into the game. They ultimately failed at that, but point being that they didn’t get shut out!

Stevie Wilkerson‘s three-run homer in the last of the fifth cut the lead to 9-3. However an RBI-groundout and an RBI-single would give NY an 11-3 lead. The O’s would put one additional run across in the last of the sixth, to round out an 11-4 loss.

The frustrating thing from the Orioles’ perspective is that New York shouldn’t be as good as they are right now. All of their star players are on the IL. Yet the guys who have taken their place are playing at the same frantic pace. They’re still slugging home runs, and when they play the Orioles they’re slugging them at a frantic pace.

And on that note I would say this; both the Orioles and New York have hungry players. Guys who recognize that they have an opportunity to play, and who are trying to do everything in their power to take advantage of that. First off however, NY’s “hungry players” are ahead of those of the Orioles.

As a result, the Orioles’ “hunger” manifests itself in errors of aggression. Guys want to make a play so badly that they’re actually making mistakes. NY’s hunger manifests itself in tape measure home runs and solid defense. And that’s proving to be the difference when looking at these two teams.

The series continues tomorrow at Camden Yards. Dan Straily gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by New York’s CC Sabathia. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles, David Hess bitten by the long ball

The Baltimore Orioles dropped the first leg of a twin bill at Yankee Stadium this afternoon. David Hess got the start, and with mixed results. Hess pitched a solid enough six innings, and within that six he pitched a few 1-2-3 innings. However he was hurt by the long ball. Hess’ Line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 6 K.

Hess gave up four homers on the afternoon. That’s not going to be conducive to winning a game. The good news however was that the Birds’ offense kept up. For the most part.

The Orioles actually had a lead in this game – a couple of times. Trey Mancini smacked a two-out solo home run in the first inning. The put the Orioles on the board, and set the tone for the game. Sanchez would tie the game in the last of the first with a solo home run of his own.

However an inning later Austin Wynns smacked an RBI-double, and the O’s had the lead back at 2-1. However the story of this game was New York’s homers off of Hess. Torres sent a solo shot over the wall in the last of the second, followed by Maybin’s solo homer. At which point NY led the Orioles 3-2.

Eduardo Nunez briefly tied the game in the fourth with a solo homer of his own, but Torres still had to come to bat again in the bottom of that fourth inning. He smacked a two-run homer, which gave New York the lead back at 4-3. Later in the inning they were able to score in a non-homer manner, on an RBI-single by Tauchman.

The good news for the O’s is that they kept New York off the board for the remainder of the game. Hess took over the major league lead in number of home runs surrendered in this game. Not exactly the list on which you want to be the leader. However other than the homers, Hess actually looked fairly decent. That has to be one of the takeaways from this game.

Another should also be that in pitching six innings (and with Brandon Kline pitching the sixth and seventh), Hess was able to help the Orioles save the bullpen for the second game. That’s always a concern in these doubleheaders.

Game two of this doubleheader is later this evening at Yankee Stadium. Andrew Cashner gets the call for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by New York’s Domingo German. Game time is set for just after 6::30 PM. (Before the first game New York announced that the second game would start no earlier than that time; this as opposed to normally in a straight doubleheader when the second game starts 25 minutes after the completion of the first.)

Baltimore Orioles: It begins and ends with starting pitching

Last night the Baltimore Orioles got superior starting pitching. This evening they got an average outing at best out of starter David Hess. That might be okay in some instances. Not against the defending World Series champions. Hess’ line: 4.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 4 BB, 5 K.

I’ve said this before, but it begins and ends with starting pitching. Now granted I said that in the context that in the past the O’s were a team expected to contend, and they needed solid starting pitching to do so. However the same is still true. This is the regular season, and regardless of the outlook on the entire season you need to have solid starting pitching of you’re going to win games. The Orioles got it last night. This evening? Not so much.

Now one might point out that Hess didn’t take the loss, and he certainly didn’t throw a total clunker out there. And that’s all true, and to Hess’ credit. But Oriole starters have been going four to five innings in games routinely – last night was the exception, not the rule. That sets the tone for the opponent, as well as for the Orioles. If your starter isn’t going deep into the game, you’re putting yourself at an immediate disadvantage.

Boston took an early 2-0 lead on a two-run homer by Martinez. However the Birds fought back. Rio Ruiz smacked a two-run homer of his own in the last of the first, and before we knew it the ballgame was tied. The teams would once again swap homers in the fourth inning, Boston off the bat of Bogaerts, and the Orioles off the bat of Hanser Alberto.

One inning later however, Boston did their big damage (following Hess’ departure). Moreland’s three-run homer gave them a 6-3 lead. That was the big blow of the game, however the O’s did make a run. Dwight Smith Jr’s RBI-double in the eighth cut the lead to 6-4. Later in the inning Chris Davis‘ RBI-single cut it to 6-5. But that’s as close as the Orioles would get as Boston would put up two insurance runs in the ninth, and they fell in game two, 6-5 to Boston.

The series with Boston concludes tomorrow night at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Andrew Cashner gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s Chris Sale. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Teams and players are getting fat on the O’s

David Hess pitched a solid game for the Baltimore Orioles…through four innings. However he seemed to fall apart after that, allowing ChiSox runs to score off the long ball. And that was a popular motif all night. Hess’ line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 3 K.

I think that the bigger issue right now facing the Orioles as opposed to wins and losses is that teams are in essence getting well on the Birds. Struggling players come away with more confidence after facing the Orioles. That’s not what you want.

Chicago’s Abreu came into tonight’s game five for his previous 26. He had two hits and three RBI tonight against Oriole pitching. All-in-all, Chicago was allowed to bat around twice this evening. How does that happen?

Orioles’ pitchers are getting too much of the plate. Now that works against you two fold. The first way is obvious; if you get too much of the plate too often, big league hitters are going to hit the ball a long way.

However it also works against you because it allows hitters to sit on a fastball. When you do throw a pitch out of the zone, the hitter won’t even flinch. Then you get into having a sense of urgency to throw strikes, so you throw pitches in the zone primed to be hit.

McCann’s three-run homer in the fifth gave Chicago a 3-0 lead this evening. Now in fairness, McCann came in swinging a hot bat. But the O’s couldn’t keep him (or his teammates) off the board. Abreu’s RBI-single later in the inning ran the lead to 4-0.

In the bottom of that fifth inning the Orioles would get on the board. Trey Mancini‘s RBI-double cut the lead to 4-1. However Chicago got another three-run homer in the seventh by Abreu,and they would score on an E6. McCann’s RBI-single later in the inning and Abreu’s two-RBI single in the eighth would close out the scoring for the evening – save for one more two-RBI single in the eighth.

Oriole pitchers simply need to change up their pitches. Now that’s a lot harder to do than it sounds. Reason for that is that Oriole pitchers (both starters and relievers) need to trust their stuff. If you don’t trust your stuff you’re going to make mistakes. So yes, it’s as much mental as it is anything else. The O’s would also get a garbage-time homer from Severino, running the final to 12-2.

Ultimately this is a ChiSox team that was struggling overall coming in. The left the game feeling like they were the ’27 Yankees. That can’t happen moving forward.

It’s also interesting to note that teams are hitting consistently against the Orioles’ shift in games. You play a shift because spray charts indicate that this player favors hitting the ball to such-and-such location. However it seems that often times guys are hitting the ball right to where the players would have been if not for the shift. Basically, teams are hitting them where “they ain’t” on a much more frequent basis than the Orioles are doing that to opponents.

The series continues tomorrow night at Camden Yards. Andrew Cashner gets the fall for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Chicago’s Ivan Nova. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: David Hess gets Fenway’d

David Hess pitched a halfway decent game for the Baltimore Orioles this evening. In fact, he pitched one out short of a quality start. The issue of course was that Hess and the Orioles were facing the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Boston makes their home park work for them – and against you. Hess’ line: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 3 K.

Those aren’t perfect numbers. But as I said, if you’re going by the letter of the law it’s one out shy of a quality start. The goal for any starter is to put your team in a position to win the game. Did Hess do that tonight at Fenway Park? My personal opinion is that he did.

Hess was cruising along until Benintendi smacked a solo homer in the third inning. It counts, but it barely cleared the Green Monster. Boston always takes advantage of every little bounce at Fenway, and those bounces normally go their way.

This isn’t to say that Boston has an advantage of any sort – per se. Both teams play on the same field with the same dimensions. They just naturally know the ballpark better, and everything that comes with it. That includes wind currents, bounces, etc.

As an example, Bogaerts smacked an RBI-double in the fourth. It came with Moreland on first base; Moreland ran from first base as soon as he saw the trajectory of the ball. He knew it was going to hit off the top of the wall, giving him plenty of time to score from first. Most other parks, you end up with runners and the corners in that situation. Not Fenway.

Nunez’s RBI-single (also off the green monster) later in the inning would run the score to 3-0. But this shows why pitching at Fenway can be so difficult. There are so many funny bounces and hops the ball can take. Heck, and if it gets into the corner and starts rattling around out there, you never know what’s going to happen.

But there is a silver lining to this. And that’s that the O’s fought back. Dwight Smith Jr. smacked a two-run homer in the seventh, cutting the Boston lead to 3-2. However Boston would tack on a few insurance runs in the later innings, running the score to 6-2 going into the ninth. Keep in mind who the opponent was/is; Boston has some big bats in it’s lineup. But while they hit the ball hard, they didn’t slug the Orioles out of the ballpark. Their runs came in drips as opposed to droves.

The O’s would mount a late rally in the ninth, getting to within 6-4 on a two-run homer by Eduardo Nunez. But while the rally fell short and the O’s ultimately fell by that score, that was a big deal. Following the homer Boston brought in it’s closer, Braiser. He had already warmed up and sat back down once Boston was no longer in a save situation. But he had to get ready again, and in a hurry at that. Something along those lines could affect the Boston ‘pen for the remainder of the series. Time will tell.

Again, not a horrible outing by David Hess tonight. It’s tough to limit Boston to anything at Fenway. (Or anywhere for that matter.) he did a pretty decent job of it, as Boston runs trickled in. This as opposed to coming in an avalanche. Pitching at Fenway however isn’t for the faint of heart. Opposing pitchers often get the bounces that Hess did tonight. It’s part of what makes the AL East so tough.

The series continues tomorrow at Fenway Park – with an immediate quick turnaround in the form of an early day game after a night game. Andrew Cashner gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s Rick Porcello. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: David Hess’ Monday Funday

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.

Baltimore Orioles: David Hess knocked around in Birds’ loss

David Hess had about as tough a day today for the Baltimore Orioles as any pitcher is going to have. Regular season game, exhibition game – ultimately it doesn’t matter. Going into today’s game it appeared that Hess was looking at a rotation slot. I have to assume that’s still in play, however Hess didn’t do himself any favors today. Hess’ line: 2.2 IP, 9 H, 9 R, 0 BB, 3 K.

Before you could blink, Hess had given up nine runs. They came on a plethora of homers, singles, and doubles. All in all, not a good day for David Hess. For Hess’ sake, he has to attempt to shake it off. If he does, he’s probably still in line for a rotation spot. However for the crew who says Hess is washed up, keep in mind that pitchers are going to have days like this. Over the course of a season a pitcher’s going to have ten good starts, ten bad starts, and ten in between. The season hasn’t started yet, but this would go in the bad category (if the regular season had already started).

But all wasn’t lost for the Orioles. They battled back, and that’s been a staple of this Oriole team this spring. Regardless of home or away, or who’s in the game, these guys have battled and have never given up.

Rio Ruiz‘s RBI-single in the fourth got the Birds on the board. Later in the inning Joey Rickard‘s two-RBI double cut the Minnesota lead to 9-3. As I said, these guys flat out haven’t ever given up. That’s the type of character you want as part of your team and organization.

Trey Mancini would score from third in the fifth on a wild pitch, and Rickard would later smack another RBI-single, cutting the Minnesota lead to 9-5. Joey Rickard had three RBI on the day, once again making his own case to be a part of the big league roster. However that aside, the Birds found themselves to within 9-7 in the sixth after Drew Jackson‘s two-run homer.

However unfortunately for the Orioles, one inning later Minnesota extended it’s lead to 12-7. This following back-to-back homers, the first of which was a two-run shot. The Orioles would tack on two runs late, however while they battled and valiantly forced themselves back into the game, it wasn’t their day. And they fell 12-9 to Minnesota.

The Orioles will head to Dunedin Stadium tomorrow to take on Toronto. Alex Cobb gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Sam Gaviglio . Game time is set for just after 1 PM.