The Orioles begin the final stop on their three-city road trip tonight when they open a three-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Thursday’s 9-3 win at Chicago was just the third in the last 20 road games for the Orioles, who are 16-34 through 50 games and 6-21 on the road.
The trip began with the Orioles losing three of four at Boston and then splitting four in Chicago. The Orioles and White Sox each posted a 3-2 win and a blowout victory in the series.
Right-hander David Hess (1-1, 6.75 ERA) will make this third major league start tonight. He is facing the same Rays club that he made his major league debut against May 12 at Camden Yards. That afternoon, he gave up three runs in the first inning, but shutout Tampa in the second through the sixth to post his first big league win.
Last Sunday at Boston, Hess allowed five runs and eight hits over 4 2/3 innings on 87 pitches. He gave up one run through four innings, but Boston went 4-for-6 with two homers against him the third time through the lineup.
“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.”
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.”
The Rays starter tonight is going to be reliever Sergio Romo as the so-called “opener.” He will pitch an inning or two and then be replaced by a starter in Ryan Yarbrough. Last weekend, Romo started back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday in Anaheim versus the Angels. The first night, he went an inning and struck out the side. The next night he pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings with two walks and three strikeouts.
Romo was the first pitcher to start two straight games since Milwaukee’s Zack Greinke on July 7-8, 2012. Greinke actually started three in a row then. He was ejected after four pitches in the first game and then started the next night. That was the last day before the All-Star break and he then started the first game out of the break.
Most career relief appearances before making a first start:
638 - Troy Percival
632 - Todd Jones
603 - Chuck McElroy
588 - Sergio Romo
The Orioles are batting just .169 (11-for-65) with runners in scoring position over the last nine games. They went 5-for-32 (.156) in the series in Chicago.
Trey Mancini and Adam Jones hit back-to-back homers yesterday, the third back-to-back homers for the O’s this season. Earlier, the Orioles did this on back-to-back days. On May 12, Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop went back-to-back versus Tampa Bay’s Chris Archer, and the next day Danny Valencia and Joey Rickard did so against Blake Snell.
Single-A Frederick second baseman Preston Palmeiro, son of former Orioles slugger Rafael Palmeiro, extended his hitting streak to 16 games last night, going 2-for-4 with a three-run homer. The 16-game streak is the longest active streak in the Carolina League. Preston Palmerio is now two games shy of the longest streak in the Carolina League in 2018.
In 10 games since being promoted from Double-A Bowie, outfielder Mike Yastrzemski is batting .351 (13-for-37) for Triple-A Norfolk. His four triples are tied for the lead in the International League.