Ynoa gets Friday start and chance to audition for 2018 role

TORONTO - He made a start for the Orioles last Saturday at Cleveland and right-hander Gabriel Ynoa will get another chance in the rotation this weekend in New York.

He is listed by the Orioles to start on Friday night at Yankee Stadium. Through six games and one start, the 24-year-old native of the Dominican Republic is 1-1 with a 4.19 ERA for the Orioles. In 4 2/3 innings at Cleveland, he gave up seven hits and three runs on 77 pitches. Now he gets the start in Yankee Stadium.

“I’m very thankful to God,” Ynoa said, through translator Ramón Alarcón. “Happy to help the team and looking forward to this opportunity. After I started in Cleveland, I was approached and told that a second start might be a possibility. So I started practicing and preparing for that possibility and am thankful for that.”

Ynoa-Throws-Orange-Sidebar.jpgWhen he is throwing the ball well, Ynoa can touch the mid-90s with his fastball and features a solid slider. He also has a major league walk rate of just 2.4 batters per every nine innings. He has walked just three with 15 strikeouts for the Orioles over 19 1/3 innings.

“Being ahead in the count is so much favorable,” he said of his gameplan for Friday. “That is my thing - trying to stay ahead in the count and be aggressive. Keep the hitters off-balance. That is my mindset in preparing for the game.”

Acquired on Feb. 10 from the Mets for cash considerations, Ynoa went 6-9 with a 5.25 ERA in 21 starts and 106 1/3 innings this year at Triple-A Norfolk. He had an ERA of 7.64 in his first 12 starts. Then he was dramatically better in the second half, going 5-1 with a 2.87 ERA over nine starts for the Tides. In those games, he pitched 53 1/3 innings, allowing 49 hits with seven walks to 44 strikeouts.

What made his second half so much better?

“Consistency, for sure,” Ynoa said. “I was more consistent with my pitches and was trying to stay on top of hitters and work ahead in the count. I was concentrating on attacking the zone.”

In four career big league starts, three for the Mets, Ynoa is 0-1 with a 3.94 ERA. After holding his own in Cleveland, Ynoa has a big chance Friday night to show the Orioles he might be someone worth looking at for the 2018 rotation. Yes, it is an audition of sorts.

“I think it is going to benefit my career,” he said. “I’m very confident in myself and my abilities. And I think I can help the team. Hopefully, I can help them now and in the future.”

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