When the Orioles try to break their 16-game losing streak in Toronto this afternoon, they will face a pitcher making his major league debut.
Who knows if 24-year-old, right-hander Zach Stewart will be nervous and struggle or pumped up and blow the Orioles away.
Stewart has had decent, but far from great numbers pitching for Double-A New Hampshire this season. He is 4-3 with an ERA of 4.39 in 12 starts.
He worked to an ERA of 2.92 over his first four starts, but he has an ERA of 5.20 in the eight starts since then. His ERA in May was 5.56. Eastern League batters are hitting .287 against him.
This sounds like a pitcher the Orioles should hit today.
Scouting reports say Stewart throws a low 90’s fastball and that when he was reliever earlier in his career he worked more in the mid 90’s at times. He also has a slider and changeup and good sink on the ball.
This season, over 69 2/3 innings he had allowed 78 hits with 21 walks, 49 strikeouts and 1.21 ground-to-air out ratio. He was a third-round pick out of Texas Tech in 2008 by the Reds and was traded to Toronto in July of 2009 as part of a package for Scott Rolen.
In his most recent Double-A start, he beat the Orioles’ Bowie affiliate last Thursday, allowing five hits and one run over six innings.
Bowie couldn’t beat him then. Can Baltimore today?