CLEVELAND - It has been less than a month since Branden Kline made his major league debut and just over two weeks since his latest call to the majors. But the right-hander from Frederick, Md., is settling in and getting used to life in the majors with the Orioles.
He knows that to stay here, he’ll need to pitch well, and he’s been doing that lately. He’s thrown 3 1/3 scoreless innings in his last two games and is coming off a strong two-inning outing Wednesday. In Game 1 of a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium, he got six quick outs on just 21 pitches. He was throwing his fastball 97 mph and his slider 87 mph.
It was a confidence-building type of game.
“I think anytime when you have an outing where you are able to keep the team in the game, it’s special,” Kline said this afternoon. “I was called upon to keep the score where it was at. Just tried to make quality pitches and force contact. It is something I can build on going forward. But at the same time, it’s a new day and a new team with a different scouting report. But it helps with confidence.”
Kline is 1-1 with a 4.82 ERA over six games. In 9 1/3 innings, he’s allowed seven hits and five runs with two walks, seven strikeouts and a WHIP of 0.964.
Kline is, of course, loving every day he gets to spend in the majors. Especially after injuries held him out of almost three full years on the farm between 2015 and 2017. But the club’s second-round pick out of the University of Virginia in 2012 is using each day to learn. Even if he doesn’t get into a game.
“It’s been fantastic,” he said. “Being able to be around guys like (Andrew) Cashner and (Alex) Cobb and (Mychal) Givens obviously in the bullpen. Those guys have veteran experience and have been pitching a long time. It’s been so valuable and they tell me small things that I wouldn’t pick up on my own. So from that aspect, being here has helped a lot and I use some of those things while I’m pitching.
“It’s been like that since spring training. It’s a real team here where everyone helps others however they can to improve. That was one of the big things I saw in spring training and it carries over now.”
Kline, who made his major league debut April 20 against Minnesota, picked up his first major league win May 1 against the White Sox in Chicago. He’s thrown four scoreless appearances in his six outings.
“The big thing for me is always been trying to get in pitcher’s counts,” he said. “Try to stay away from the 2-0, 3-1, those counts where hitters can really zone in on one pitch in one spot. So the better counts I get in without being predictable, that will be beneficial for me. Obviously, with our scouting reports and being able to move guys around the infield and outfield, guys will be in the right spot when the ball is hit.”