Irvin eager for another chance to start in Boston

BOSTON – Cole Irvin isn’t afraid to pitch at Fenway Park.

He’s actually a lover of old ballparks.

Irvin appreciates the history. He wants to plant his feet in the middle of it. And he gets another opportunity tonight.

Unlike Corbin Burnes, who made his first career start in Boston yesterday, Irvin is prepping for his second start and third appearance. He’s got a little more feel for it – along with a deep appreciation.

“I think it’s awesome anytime you get to pitch in an original ballfield,” he said. “Being a fan of the game of baseball as a kid and remembering how many meaningful games have been played in this stadium just kind of gives you goosebumps in a good way. It’s pretty cool to think about the amount of players who have been in this stadium. Granted, things have probably changed over those years, but the ground here are just so amazing.

“But when I made my first start here, you’re only thinking about trying to execute pitches and do your job, and I have no doubt that’s what the majority of us thought. But there is a little bit of thought in there that goes, ‘Man, this is pretty cool, this is awesome.’ So there is a little enjoyment in it.”

Irvin brushes off the talk about left-handers being a bad fit at Fenway, with the Green Monster inviting right-handed hitters to pummel or clear it. Chris Sale, for example, made 58 appearances and went 20-11 with a 3.33 ERA and 1.059 WHIP. David Price had 59 appearances and was 29-8 with a 3.12 ERA and 1.083 WHIP. Jon Lester was 51-30 with a 3.59 ERA and 1.310 WHIP in 115 games.

Spinning it to a local side, Orioles lefty John Means has a 3.98 ERA and 0.934 WHIP in four games.

Irvin, meanwhile, has allowed six earned runs and nine total in 6 2/3 innings.

“There’s been plenty of left-handed pitchers who have pitched well here,” Irvin said. “I don’t think about it. It hasn’t even been a thought that’s crossed my mind. If you make your pitches on any given day, it doesn’t matter what ballpark you’re at.”

The short porch in right field, with its Pesky Pole, also is an inviting target for hitters. It isn’t all about the famed wall.

“You’ve really got to pull it from a left-handed hitter’s standpoint in order to get it down there,” Irvin said. “The majority of outs are probably going to be in right-center. That’s where you probably want guys to hit it. Just anywhere in the outfield’s fine. Maybe not left-left, you know? But outside of that, it’s such a fun place to play.

“For me, I love going to Wrigley and playing there, and being able to come here and play here is pretty cool, too.”

Irvin is on an extended break again with the off-days and manager Brandon Hyde moving up Burnes to make yesterday’s start. Burnes leap-frogged Irvin, who pitched on April 2 against Kansas City and allowed four runs in five innings.

The Orioles didn’t want Burnes to stay idle, and he held the Red Sox to one run and two hits over seven innings in a 7-1 win.

“I’d like to start getting on a little bit more normal schedule,” Irvin said. “We’re on eight days again. But it’s part of the process. You want your guy to go, so I completely understand the decision to get Corbin up and ready to go. I’d much rather make sure we’ve got our ace in a regular routine, because all of us are pretty much dealing with all the off-days and getting moved around. It’s part of the process. It’s going to happen. You’re going to want your stud to take the ball as much as he can.

“If he’s willing to do it, then you let him.”

Notes: Adley Rutschman has five multi-hit games this season, the most by an Orioles’ catcher through the first 10 games since Ramón Hernández in 2006.

Orioles pitchers have struck out 97 batters in 10 games, the most in team history. The previous record was 96 in 2020.

Catcher Silas Ardoin was moved from Double-A Bowie’s game last night after being hit in the nose while batting. He underwent an evaluation.

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