O's Chirinos avoids IL, plus other pregame notes

OAKLAND – Orioles catcher Robinson Chirinos, who had a 92 mph fastball strike his shoulder and glance off his face near the cheek yesterday, could play today in an emergency situation if the Orioles had to use him in the series finale at Oakland.

Catcher Anthony Bemboom will make his fifth start today, batting eighth and catching Tyler Wells against the A’s. Chirinos was hit by a Daulton Jefferies pitch in the second inning of Wednesday’s game. After being looked at by the training staff, he left the field and the game. It was later announced he had a facial contusion. Chirinos has made eight starts this year and is batting  .182/.357/.182/.539 with no homers or RBIs in his first nine games with the club.

“He’s feeling a lot better today,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “We dodged a bullet with him yesterday. That was a scary moment. We got lucky a little bit, it hit his shoulder I think first and more kind of glanced off his face. But it’s sore and swollen. He passed all the tests and he feels good and he wants to play. I’m going to try and not play him (today). Woke up this morning and that was a good phone to get that he’s OK. He could probably play today, but I don’t want him to.”

After a day where five O's pitcher combined for the club's third shutout of the year, Hyde had some props for bullpen lefty Paul Fry, a pitcher trying to recapture his previous form. And a pitcher that struggled so badly with his command late last year that he was optioned out to Triple-A.

But since giving up three runs in an outing April 10 versus Tampa Bay, he has thrown scoreless ball over his past three games. That includes a 1-2-3 sixth here yesterday on 11 pitches.

“Confidence right now, he’s pitching with a ton of confidence," said Hyde. "I think, you know, going into the game yesterday trying to hold a 1-0 lead the slider was really good. Faced one left-hander and put him away on three really good sliders watching it this morning. The depth and bite to the slider is back and the confidence with his fastball is better, so happy with how he is throwing the ball right now."

Added Fry: "Getting back to my mindset of one pitch at a time, attacking hitters and keeping the pressure on them. If I do give up a hit, not let the game speed up on me and focus on the next pitch.

"The slider has always been my best pitch. I added a two-seamer this year to keep guys off balance. I needed something to come into lefties a little. Using the mix and throwing strikes is going to help me get my slider in good spots to put guys away."

Baltimore’s pitching staff owns a 2.57 ERA through the first 12 games, the second-best mark in the American League behind New York and fifth-best in the majors. The 2.57 ERA is the fifth-lowest in franchise history through 12 games and lowest since the 1977 team pitched to a 2.08 ERA through the first 12 games.

The O’s have pitched multiple shutouts with three in their first 12 games for the sixth time in franchise history, and first since 1992, their first season at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. All three of the shutouts have come within a nine-game span since April 11. It is the first time since 2017 that O’s hurlers have tossed at least three shutouts in a nine-game span, with the 2017 club doing so in seven games.

O's game blog: The series finale at Oakland
Orioles and Athletics lineups (and notes)

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