CHICAGO - As of last night, the Orioles had not released their starting pitchers yet for the weekend series against Tampa Bay. But barring a huge surprise, right-hander David Hess will make his third major league start against the team he faced in his MLB debut.
“Anytime you get out there it’s a lot of fun,” Hess said in looking forward to Friday. “Just to get another opportunity to kind of show what I can do means a lot to me. Sometimes the learning process is difficult. But through that you get better.”
On May 12 at Camden Yards, Hess got the win against the Rays, allowing six hits and three runs over six innings in his debut. Last Sunday in Boston, pitching on seven days’ rest, he gave up three homers and five runs over 4 2/3 innings at Fenway Park.
“I think the Red Sox taught me pretty quickly that the third time through the lineup you really have to execute pitches more than anything,” Hess said. “I think the Rays game showed that I have everything I need to be successful and the team has my back. At the end of the day, putting those two things together means a lot. You can go out there and have everything you need to give the team a chance to win. More than anything, that is what the goal is.”
Hess allowed just one run in the first four innings at Boston, before the Red Sox went 4-for-6 with two homers against him when the lineup turned over the third time.
“They kind of see in those first couple of at-bats how you are approaching them,” Hess said. You can also see what’s been working and what hasn’t. That third time through, if the game plan is working then stick with it. And you can make adjustments as well if needed.”
Hess was two-pitch heavy in that game at Boston, throwing 60 fastballs and 19 sliders among his 87 pitches. He may look to mix in more curveballs and changeups going forward, and he said he all four pitches were going pretty well at Triple-A, when he began the year going 2-0 with a 2.12 ERA in six starts for Norfolk.
“Yeah. I worked a lot last year on my split and it’s come a long way. I think that is going to be useful going forward. That helped out a lot last year to balance out lefties and I use it occasionally against righties. We focused in Triple-A on getting the feel for everything and being able to utilize all four pitches.”
Manager Buck Showalter has clearly been impressed by Hess over these first two big league starts.
“David, when he’s really good, he has all four (pitches), which is not going to happen many times,” Showalter said. “I love the fact he is giving it respect but not intimidated by it. He’s going after guys. You know if he gets baseballs where he is supposed to get them, he is going to get major league hitters out. He’s a tough kid, man and he likes to compete. It’s fun to watch him pitch. You know he’s not going to be wandering around in timid land, you know.”
About last night: The Orioles lost again on the road and it was ugly last night. Alex Cobb allowed six runs in 3 2/3 innings and is 1-6 with an ERA of 7.32 after the Chicago White Sox crushed the Orioles 11-1.
Cobb has now allowed six or more runs three times. He signed a four-year contract in March but so far the O’s fans have seen mixed results from him.
“There’s been some absolute difficulties for not only me, but us as a team to start the season,” Cobb said. “But I’m not going to look into how people view me as a pitcher. I’d obviously love to go out there and show the fanbase and all of baseball that the Orioles made the right decision in getting me, but it hasn’t gone according to plan to start the season. I no doubt believe that I will return to form, and this commitment that was made - we made to each other - that it’ll end up working out for both sides. But you do your best convincing when you’re on the mound and pitching a good game. I plan on not looking too much into the stats and the overall numbers, but going game-to-game and trying to put a good streak together.”
Meanwhile the Orioles offense produced one run versus right-hander Dylan Covey, who began the night with a career ERA of 7.58.
The Orioles offense put up 17 runs on Sunday May 13 versus Tampa Bay. In eight games since they have scored 19 total runs. They have scored six in losing two of three games in this series. The Orioles are batting .186 with 18 hits the last three games here and have gone 2-for-18 with runners in scoring position. The Orioles have scored one run or less 12 times. They are 3-25 when scoring three or fewer runs.
Manager Buck Showalter was asked after Wednesday’s game about moves he can make to jump-start the offense. Are his options limited?
“I would never say that. Dan (Duquette) would never say that. Scott (Coolbaugh) would never say that. The players would never say that. We continue to look for ways. But we just have to find a way to score more runs. That creates a tough mindset for your pitching staff.”
For the first time this season, O’s shortstop Manny Machado has gone hitless in back-to-back games.
The White Sox have won five of seven games and eight of their past 13 versus the Orioles. Their 11 runs was a season-high at home and their 10-run margin of victory is Chicago’s largest of the 2018 season.