When David Hess made his major league debut and won it a week ago today in Baltimore, he had a very familiar catcher. He had worked with Chance Sisco at Single-A Frederick and Double-A Bowie. Then manager Buck Showalter paired the two rookies together against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Hess allowed a three-run homer to Matt Duffy in the top of the first. Then he pitched shutout ball from the second through the sixth to get a 6-3 victory in the opener of a doubleheader. It was an impressive debut as Hess allowed six hits and three runs over six innings with no walks and three strikeouts. He threw 78 pitches, including 40 fastballs that averaged 93 mph and topped out at 95 mph.
Hess said it was nice to have a familiar face back there catching him, and it felt like he and Sisco were back at Bowie. This was the first time since Aug. 4, 2009 that an O’s pitcher made his debut with a rookie catcher behind the plate. That was when Brian Matusz made his big league debut and the starting catcher was rookie Matt Wieters.
Hess is a candidate to make the start in game four of the Boston series on Sunday at Fenway Park. If he does, he could be paired with Sisco again.
“It was good to catch a guy that I had come up with,” Sisco said of catching Hess against Tampa Bay. “That was fun. That was a first for me, really, and exciting. First time catching a guy making his debut. It was awesome. David is a really good guy and a good teammate.”
Since Sisco knows Hess so well, I asked him which of Hess’ attributes might allow him to have major league success if he gets more chances to start for the Orioles.
“Just his demeanor,” Sisco said. “He’s a calm guy. He seems to have his nerves handled well out there. His pitch mix is going to help him. He’s got four really good pitches that he can throw for strikes. Anytime you have a guy that has a mix like him, it makes calling the game a little easier.”
Sisco has seen Hess take steps forward and make adjustments to advance his game over the last few seasons.
“He really has a difference between his curveball and slider now. That was one thing he was working on a couple of years ago, being able to throw both of those pitches for strikes. He’s got some different movement on them now and is comfortable with both. His changeup looked really good. I know he has been working with some different grips and he is really comfortable with what he has found now,” Sisco said.
The Sisco kid has been doing a nice job throwing out runners this year, getting nine of 18. He did a good job working with Hess in his first major league start. I have a feeling it won’t be the last time we see these two paired together for the Orioles.
Meanwhile, the Birds beat Boston 7-4 last night to snap their 13-game road losing streak, which had tied the team record. The 2018 Orioles will not stand alone - at least not with that record.
The Orioles have scored 68 runs and hit 22 homers over their past 10 games.
The Orioles have won six of their last nine games to get to 14-30. They are now 4-17 on the road. They also ended a seven-game losing streak versus Boston on Friday night.
Manny Machado went 3-for-5 last night with two doubles and a two-run single. It was his 18th multi-hit game. No other Oriole has more than 12, and that mark belongs to Trey Mancini. Last night’s game was the14th in which Machado hit multiple RBIs. The next closest Oriole is Adam Jones, with six.
Machado is now batting a major league-leading .500 with runners in scoring position, going 17-for-34 with three homers and 26 RBIs. When the bases are loaded, he is 2-for-3 with a grand slam.
Over his past eight games, Machado is batting .364 with five homers and 15 RBIs. In the series in Boston, he is 4-for-9 with two doubles, a homer and four RBIs.
Last night was the Orioles 19th quality start of the season, and they are 10-9 in those games.
Since the 2012 season the Orioles are 65-53 (.551) versus Boston. Since the 2014 season the Orioles are 24-19 (.558) at Fenway Park.