As in, how much longer?
It’s the same with Dan Straily, who’s carrying an 8.51 ERA and 1.891 WHIP into tonight’s start against the Yankees. And therein lies the problem.
The Orioles don’t have an abundance of choices and Hess isn’t riding alone on the struggle bus.
The bullpen doesn’t offer a worthy candidate short of going back to an opener. Gabriel Ynoa made three starts at Triple-A Norfolk and has done it seven times in the majors, but there’s room for him on the same bus with his 11 runs allowed in the last four innings.
It’s going to start resembling a field trip. Pick a buddy.
Alex Cobb isn’t close to returning from his lumbar strain and hip discomfort. He followed up an MRI with another trip down to Sarasota, where he continues to rehab with no timetable for getting back on a mound.
Nate Karns used to be an opener before going to the bullpen. He’s confined to the 60-day injured list, a proud new father who will be changing diapers instead of roles.
Yefry Ramirez was optioned after Sunday’s start in Cleveland. Maybe he gets another shot if able to string together some quality outings at Triple-A Norfolk. In the meantime, he’d need to replace an injured player if brought back sooner than 10 days.
Left-hander Josh Rogers was under consideration for a recall to aid the bullpen in Cleveland, but he’s registered a 6.87 ERA and 1.55 WHIP in seven starts with the Tides. He allowed nine runs and 13 hits in 4 2/3 innings in an April 26 game against Louisville.
Luis Ortiz scuffled in camp and continues to do so with Norfolk, posting a 6.98 ERA and 1.89 WHIP in seven starts.
Rogers and Ortiz only warrant call-ups as fresh arms if the timing works in their favor. It wouldn’t be based on production.
Does Keegan Akin slot into the idea that development in the minors comes first? If so, he’s not budging after making only eight starts at the Triple-A level.
Akin has a 3.60 ERA and 1.23 WHIP with 45 strikeouts in 40 innings. He’s allowed only one run in his last two starts totaling 12 2/3 innings, with two walks and 15 strikeouts.
The cavalry isn’t galloping through Camden Yards.
“It’s what we’ve got right now,” said manager Brandon Hyde, suggesting that no changes are forthcoming.
“It’s not from lack of effort or lack of competitiveness. I don’t like seeing guys get beat up and I don’t like seeing guys give up homers, but they’re all getting the opportunity to bounce back from tough starts, or our hitters from tough games offensively, or whatever it may be. But yeah, we’re lacking depth.”
There’s always the waiver wire again. The Orioles get first dibs based on last year’s record.
Or they play the hand they’re dealt and hope for better results.
Hyde admitted last night that he worries about Hess’ confidence.
“Yeah I do,” he said. “Originally, before Cobb got hurt we had him going in the bullpen, we wanted to see what that looked like, and Cobb got hurt. We just don’t have the numbers. We don’t have the depth. I don’t like seeing guys get beat up.”
Hess leads the majors with 17 home runs allowed. The nine runs last night were a career high and raised his ERA to 6.75.
“I’ve seen David throw really well for a number of years now,” said Stevie Wilkerson, who also offered support at the plate with a three-run homer. “He’s got really good stuff. I’m sure he’d be the first to tell you tonight wasn’t his best, but I’ve seen that guy have some really good outings, a bunch of them over the last few years.”