The series win and back-to-back victories are out of the way. The Orioles don’t have to be reminded of the huge gaps. Of the many teases and failed attempts.
Let it go.
The next goal is a three-game sweep, which would be the first since Aug. 27-29, 2018 against the Blue Jays. Probably not as long ago as many people would have expected.
David Hess, Josh Rogers and Sean Gilmartin were the winning pitchers in the series. Hess is in Triple-A Norfolk’s bullpen, Rogers is on the injured list and expected to undergo Tommy John surgery, and Gilmartin accepted an outright assignment to Norfolk.
The importance of today’s game could be heightened for Gabriel Ynoa, who hasn’t exactly clamped down on a starting job.
Ynoa has been struggling with 13 runs allowed, including four homers, in his last two outings over 7 2/3 innings. He’s 0-4 with a 7.99 ERA and 1.521 WHIP in five starts this month and right-handers are slashing .344/.396/.591 against him in 15 games.
Another misfire today could thin the ice beneath his feet, but again, who’s an alternative?
Harping on the lack of pitching depth at the upper levels of the system is broken record territory.
Dan Straily made his first start with Norfolk last night since he accepted an outright assignment and tossed five scoreless innings with four hits allowed, no walks and seven strikeouts.
The Orioles are considering whether a minor leaguer could pitch Monday at Tropicana Field.
Tom Eshelman hasn’t started since Monday, when he allowed five runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. He’s made three starts with Norfolk and surrendered nine earned runs (10 total) and 18 hits with six walks and 11 strikeouts in 20 innings.
There hasn’t been confirmation on Eshelman, just a tweet yesterday from @CalStateOmaha - run by a former Titan football player - saying “we are hearing on good authority” that he has been called up. The tweet included the line “if this is true ...”
Eshelman isn’t on the 40-man roster but one way to create room would be to move Rogers to the 60-day injured list.
Luis Ortiz is on the 40-man and would be working on regular rest, but he’s weighed down by a 6.75 ERA and 1.630 WHIP with the Tides.
Hess relieved Ortiz Wednesday and tossed 3 1/3 scoreless innings with two hits, no walks and four strikeouts. He came out of the bullpen again last night and earned his first professional save with three scoreless innings. He allowed one hit and struck out five.
Luis Ysla might not have been a starter consideration anyway, but he’s on the injured list with a strained hamstring.
Manager Brandon Hyde also could give Jimmy Yacabonis another turn and try to figure out who’s following the right-hander to the mound. The bullpen games worry him.
Ynoa made two relief appearances in Cleveland in May, twice working 1 2/3 innings, and allowed six earned runs and eight total with eight hits and four walks. Carlos Santana is 3-for-7 with two doubles against him and José Ramírez has tripled twice in three at-bats. But Ramírez is on the paternity list.
The Indians are starting right-hander Shane Bieber, who’s 6-3 with a 3.83 ERA and 1.100 WHIP in 17 games. He’s averaging 2.1 walks and 11.4 strikeouts per nine innings.
The Orioles are quite familiar with Bieber, who shut them out on five hits with no walks and 15 strikeouts on May 19.