Left-hander Wade LeBlanc is making tonight’s start against the Athletics at Camden Yards, his first in 2021 after five relief appearances.
LeBlanc hasn’t thrown more than 24 pitches or exceeded 1 1/3 innings since the Orioles broke camp. There’s going to be some baton passing, perhaps in the rain.
Ryan Mountcastle snapped an 0-for-21 streak last night, but has only one hit in his last 24 at-bats. He’s on the bench tonight.
Trey Mancini has multiple hits in three of his last five games after totaling only one in the first 14.
The bullpen tossed five scoreless innings last night to lower its ERA to 3.14, sixth in the majors, and its WHIP to 1.20. That ranks eighth. Cole Sulser retired all six batters with three strikeouts and hasn’t allowed a run in 6 1/3 innings.
Most impressive, Sulser hasn’t issued a walk after averaging 6.8 per nine innings last summer. He’s struck out 10 batters.
“I love that he was throwing that split-change to right-handers tonight,” manager Brandon Hyde said after the game. “It’s something we’ve been talking about with the pitching guys, and you saw the hop to his fastball. He got his fastball to the upper part of the zone and above by guys and he was throwing that split to right-handers and getting some swings. He’s done a nice job.”
Sulser said he’s changed his approach, “trying to be more aggressive in the zone early, especially with multiple off-speed pitches,” which could keep him on the roster after a couple of options this month.
“A few mechanical changes. One of them, I just moved over on the rubber a little bit to try to get my breaking pitches a little bit more room on the plate for breaking off. So, trying to attack the zone and then just make everything look more like a strike out of hand.”
Oakland right-hander Chris Bassitt made 11 starts last season, registered a 2.29 ERA and 1.159 WHIP in 63 innings and finished eighth in Cy Young Award voting in the American League. He’s made four starts this year and allowed 11 runs and 20 hits with 10 walks in 22 1/3 innings.
Bassitt has made three career starts against the Orioles and gone 2-0 with a 2.18 ERA and 0.871 WHIP in 20 2/3 innings.
The Orioles have lost seven straight games to the A’s dating back to 2019.
Orioles pitchers have surrendered a home run in all nine home games this season, and the 17 allowed are the second-most in the American League behind Oakland’s 18.
Dean Kremer worked 2 1/3 innings yesterday in an alternate site game against the Nationals in Bowie and allowed two runs and five hits with two walks and three strikeouts in an 11-5 win. He threw 58 pitches.
Kremer is eligible to return to the active roster on Wednesday.
Austin Wynns hit another home run. Stevie Wilkerson had a double and triple, Ryan Ripken doubled twice and Rylan Bannon singled twice. Yusniel Diaz and Richie Martin were 1-for-4 with a double. Jahmai Jones was 1-for-3 and Brett Cumberland was 1-for-2 with a double and two walks.
For the Orioles
Cedric Mullins CF
Trey Mancini 1B
DJ Stewart RF
Maikel Franco 3B
Rio Ruiz 2B
Pedro Severino DH
Freddy Galvis SS
Austin Hays LF
Chance Sisco C
Wade LeBlanc LHP