O’s promote righty Michael Baumann in series of minors pitching moves

He’s been the most dominant starting pitcher this year on the O’s farm, and now right-hander Michael Baumann will get the challenge of facing hitters in the Carolina League.

We learned late last night that the Orioles are promoting Baumann from Single-A Delmarva to Single-A Frederick as part of moves involving eight players and all four full-season affiliates.

A third-round round pick out of Jacksonville University in June 2017, Baumann has dominant numbers since joining the pro ranks. In seven starts for Delmarva this year he went 5-0 with a 1.42 ERA. In 38 innings he has allowed 23 hits with 13 walks, 47 strikeouts and a 0.95 WHIP. In his last start for Delmarva, Baumann threw seven scoreless last Monday at Columbia, allowing two hits with eight strikeouts. He has given up two runs or fewer in each of his seven Shorebirds starts, one of which was seen in person recently by Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette.

duquette-smiles-sidebar.jpg“The kid threw a 94, 96 mph fastball with a good overhand curve,” Duquette said. “And then as soon as a guy got on base, he threw that fastball down in the zone and got a double play. He has the stuff and he showed he knew what to do with some situational awareness.”

Baumann leaves the South Atlantic League as the league leader in wins and is fifth in ERA. Among Orioles minor leaguers, he is tied for first in wins, first in ERA and second in strikeouts.

Counting his games last summer at short-season Single-A Aberdeen after the draft, Baumann has a career mark of 9-2 with a 1.34 ERA over 80 1/3 innings with 32 walks and 90 strikeouts. Before this season he was ranked as the Orioles’ No. 14 prospect by Baseball America and No. 15 by MLBPipeline.com.

In the other moves, the organization shifted from Double-A Bowie to Triple-A Norfolk left-handers Paul Fry and John Means and right-hander Ryan Meisinger. In 15 games, Fry is 3-0 with a 2.84 ERA with 11 walks and 28 strikeouts over 19 innings. Means, in eight games (seven starts) for Bowie, went 1-4 with a 4.30 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in 46 innings. Meisinger, a Maryland native and 11th-round pick out of Radford in 2015, is 0-0 with a 4.42 ERA over 18 1/3 innings with five walks and 19 strikeouts.

Moving from Frederick to Bowie are lefty pitcher Brian Gonzalez and right-hander Branden Kline. The Orioles third-round pick in 2014, the 22-year-old Gonzalez went 2-2 with a 3.18 ERA and .214 average against with the Keys. On May 8 he pitched seven no-hit innings versus Lynchburg. Kline went 1-0 with a 1.31 ERA in 12 games. Over 20 2/3 innings he walked just three, with 23 strikeouts and a .253 opponent average.

Kline is authoring quite the comeback story so far this year. A Frederick native and 2009 graduate of Thomas Johnson High School, he went to college at the University of Virginia and was the Orioles’ second-round pick in 2012. Kline seemed on a clear path to the majors when he left a start for Double-A Bowie on May 20, 2015. That led to Tommy John surgery in October of that year. He expected to return to pitch in the 2017 season, but then had two setbacks that required additional procedures. He finally got back on a mound this year. Now, almost three years to the day since he left the mound that afternoon after pitching for the Baysox, he is heading back to Bowie. Click here to check out a story I did with Kline at spring training.

Moving with Baumann from Delmarva to Frederick are lefties Zach Muckenhirn and Travis Seabrooke. Muckenhirn is 1-0 with a 2.12 ERA and three saves in 12 games. He’s fanned 27 batters to just six walks over 17 innings. Seabrooke has gone 1-1 with a 3.29 ERA and three saves.

As for the big club: The Orioles began an 11-game road trip, losing 6-2 at Boston. They are 3-17 on the road with 13 straight losses. That matches the club record set from April 8-28, 1988. According to “O’s Xtra” on MASN last night, the Orioles have been outscored 84-41 during the road losing streak, with a team batting average of .216 and a starting pitcher ERA of 6.93.

The Orioles have also lost seven in a row versus Boston. That is the longest losing streak to the Red Sox since they also dropped seven in a row from April 28-July 18, 2011.

It was a dismal outing for the Orioles, who saw Kevin Gausman allow six runs and yield five stolen bases, three of which came when he hesitated as the runner broke for second and then threw way late to first base.

The Orioles failed to score off David Price until Manny Machado hit a two-run homer with two outs in the ninth. Price threw a 95-pitch complete-game. According to STATS, the only other time in the last 25 years that a lefty threw a complete-game in under 100 pitches at Fenway Park was by Price on July 24, 2013, when he was with the Rays.

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