Failing to put a runner on base through eight innings of Sunday afternoon’s game against the Rays allowed fans and media to redirect their attention from a disheveled rotation.
Tom Eshelman was passable. Four runs allowed in 5 2/3 innings but better than the line indicated. He struck out seven, the last five with his curveball, and retired 11 in a row before the Rays tacked on two more runs.
There’s no reason to push him out of the rotation with Andrew Cashner traded. Just pitching into the sixth inning is reason enough to hand him the ball again.
You might have noticed that viable alternatives are scarce.
As for the offense, the Orioles are trying to navigate around dry spells that are dragging it down.
Dwight Smith Jr. is hitless this month and in an 0-for-26 slump. His energy level seems to be dipping, though he might be pushing through some leg soreness. I’m sure he knows that slowing up and reaching for his batting helmet on a bang-bang play at first base is a bad look.
Trey Mancini is hitless in his last six games and in an 0-for-24 slump. He’s prone to pressing when this happens, trying to get it all back at once and punishing himself when it doesn’t happen, so the Orioles want him to just relax.
He isn’t going anywhere. He’ll remain in the lineup, a small break coming when he sat out Game 2 on Saturday night, and most definitely will heat up again.
Keon Broxton has one hit this month and is in a 3-for-30 slump. He’s struck out 49 times in 99 at-bats with the Orioles.
Broxton is out of minor league options.
Richie Martin is hitless this month and in an 0-for-21 slump since homering against the Padres on June 25. He’s also 2-for-28 since June 22.
Martin has Rule 5 status and he isn’t going anywhere until it expires. The Orioles can decide whether his defense at shortstop, which looks better than his -0.5 dWAR rating, is worth keeping him on the roster beyond 2019.
Pedro Severino is 3-for-19 since homering against the Padres on June 26. He’s also 5-for-30 since June 22.
Severino is out of minor league options, which is why the Nationals designated him for assignment. He stays unless the Orioles want to try Austin Wynns again and aren’t worried about losing Severino to a waiver claim.
Chris Davis began flirting again with a .200 average, lifting it to .189 after going 2-for-3 on July 7. He’s 0-for-9 with four strikeouts in his last three games.
The Orioles remain committed to Davis beyond the finances. They’ll keep working to unlock the beast.
Asher Wojciechowski will play the role of Eshelman tonight. Try to take advantage of an opportunity and try to keep the Orioles close if the bats are cold again.
Try to avoid being on the wrong side of history.
The Nationals are sending right-hander Austin Voth to the mound tonight and will start Stephen Strasburg Wednesday or call up Erick Fedde or Joe Ross.
Voth is making his fourth start this season. He’s allowed nine runs and 15 hits with 16 strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings, his 2019 debut coming on June 23.
The fifth-round pick in 2013 out of the University of Washington hasn’t faced the Orioles in his seven career appearances. Rio Ruiz has one failed at-bat against him.
I guess he’ll supply the scouting report.
* Infielder Jace Peterson was named the International League Batter of the Week. Peterson had eight hits in four days, five for extra bases. He homered and doubled twice on Saturday to push his average above .300.
Single-A Frederick right-hander Brenan Hanifee was named Carolina League Pitcher of the Week. He spun a complete-game shutout against Salem and allowed only two runs with no walks in two starts over 16 innings.
Single-A Delmarva left-hander Ryan Wilson was named South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week. Wilson tossed seven scoreless innings with two hits allowed and 11 strikeouts at West Virginia. He retired the last 10 batters.