Ellis gets start tonight for Orioles

The “mix and match” bullpen game that Orioles manager Brandon Hyde referenced late last night begins with right-hander Chris Ellis.

The team announced that Ellis will start tonight against the Angels and two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani.

Ellis becomes the 55th player used this season, three short of the club record set in 2019.

A different record looms heavier over the organization. Two more losses and the Orioles will match the 21 straight to begin the 1988 season.

Thumbnail image for Oriole-Park-at-Camden-Yards-Warehouse-Sidebar.jpgEllis, 28, is serving as an opener but it counts as his first major league start and third appearance. His debut was May 31 with the Royals, when he tossed a scoreless inning with a hit and walk. He came out of the Rays bullpen on Aug. 17 and shut out the Orioles on three hits in four innings, striking out seven batters and earning his first win.

The Rays designated Ellis for assignment and the Orioles made the waiver claim on Aug. 20.

Ellis has accumulated 119 starts among his 179 appearances in the minors and 21 in college. He knows how to venture outside a bullpen. The question is how much length he can provide and the amount of relievers needed behind him.

This is the seventh organization for Ellis, drafted by the Angels in the third round in 2014 out of the University of Mississippi.

The Orioles must make another roster move later today after optioning reliever Konner Wade last night. Left-hander Fernando Abad isn’t available after working 3 1/3 scoreless innings, his longest stint since 2012.

That status of infielder Jorge Mateo is unknown after he left last night’s game with discomfort in his lower back. A three-man bench could be weaker if Mateo is day-to-day.

As the losing streak grows, reaching a length that ties for the fourth-longest in the majors in the modern era, opposing managers in the past two series offer their support for Hyde - the Braves’ Brian Snitker and the Angels’ Joe Maddon.

“I have the utmost respect for him,” said Maddon, who had Hyde on his coaching staff with the Cubs. “He’s a really good baseball mind. The players do really respect him a lot. The guys in Chicago really loved Hyder.

“Not easy, but Hyder’s the right man for the job. I’m telling you, he’s really grounded, he’s well versed, he knows the game inside and out, and he’s got the kind of sense of humor that I know that the players can connect with.”

Said Hyde: “I am handling it the best I possibly can.”

“I have talked to Joe a few times throughout the year on this,” he said. “I have talked to other coaches around the league, guys that are close friends of mine. I’ve talked to our coaches, too, (to) try to keep our spirits up. This is incredibly challenging and a huge gut check. We’re having a lot of tough nights, and we’ve been trying to keep our spirits high, trying to be there for the guys. We are.”

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