CLEVELAND - Over the last nine games, Orioles starters have pitched six innings or more in six of them. That is significant because they had just four such outings in the season’s first 33 games. And the rotation ERA is 3.73 in the more recent stretch.
So tonight enter right-hander Dan Straily into the mix as the Orioles open a four-game series in Cleveland with the Indians. Straily (1-3, 8.23 ERA) has gone five innings or less in each of his six starts and has allowed 11 runs in 8 2/3 over his past two games.
“I’m hoping he bounces back,” said manager Brandon Hyde this afternoon. “He’s had a couple of rough ones now and he’s facing a playoff-level lineup that is the majority left-handed and switch hitters. Yeah, like to see him have a good changeup tonight, be able to locate his fastball and pitch in to get guys off his changeup. Love to see him go deep tonight and continue to give our bullpen a breather.”
Hyde said Straily’s inactivity early in the year should no longer be a factor in his performance. The Marlins released Straily on March 25. The Orioles signed him on April 5, and he made his team debut two days later. He gave up 10 runs in 4 2/3 in knocking off some rust in his first two Baltimore outings.
“He really had a full spring training,” Hyde said. “He just had two weeks once the Marlins made the decision. It wasn’t like he was out and unsigned for a long time. He was built up pretty well in Florida. I think he’s in a regular routine now, and so now it’s about executing and performing.”
Speaking of starting pitchers, right-hander Dylan Bundy (1-5, 5.31 ERA) takes the mound in Cleveland tomorrow night. It’s his first game since his average velocity was 89.8 mph against the Angels on Saturday, when he gave up three runs over five innings. Hyde pulled him after the fifth at 80 pitches that night, expressing some concern about his velocity dip in the fifth. Hyde said Bundy is fine and nothing has changed with his preparation since that game.
“It’s been the same. He’s been on the same routine,” Hyde said. “He gets an extra day because of the rainouts in New York. But he’s on the same routine and he feels fine. I just think he fatigued some in that outing, for whatever reason. He feels like nothing happened.”
The Orioles welcome Richard Bleier back to their bullpen today. On the injured list since April 11 with left shoulder tendinitis, he made four minor league rehab appearances. He gives the O’s a second ‘pen lefty with Paul Fry against a Cleveland team that is starting seven lefty batters or switch hitters tonight.
“He’s been pitching well in the minor leagues and we felt like he was ready, so he joined us today,” Hyde said. “It was mainly about appearances and getting out there with his stuff. We feel like his stuff is going to play and he was ready to come back. So it works out well with all the left-handers and switch hitters that they have.”
The skipper added that pitcher Andrew Cashner and catcher Pedro Severino are fine today. Cashner took a 104 mph grounder off his glove and left hand yesterday, and Severino briefly turned his wrist on a play at the plate in New York.
“Sore. Cash has a ball mark on his hand and Sevy’s wrist is a little sore, but he’s fine,” Hyde said.
Finally, Hyde said his clubhouse and players are holding up fine as their record has fallen to 14-28 and they have lost six of seven and 12 of the last 16 games. Hyde said he reminded his players of a few things when he met with them this afternoon at Progressive Field.
“We’re going to improve as the year goes along and we’re still developing a lot ... I think the mood in our clubhouse has been the same since day one. Guys haven’t let the losses affect them and our preparation has been good. We come to win every night. We don’t sulk in the clubhouse or feel sorry for ourselves. We just have a sense that we need to get better, and we’re going to try and win every night,” he said.
Indians strike first: After the Orioles went 1-2-3 in the first on eight pitches againt right-hander Trevor Bauer, Jason Kipnis homered in the home first for a 1-0 lead on the Orioles. He hit a Straily high changeup 403 feet to right field.
Rio’s blast: O’s third sacker Rio Ruiz blasted a two-run homer off Bauer in the second for a 2-1 lead. He hit No. 4 a distance of 427 feet to right-center.
Tribe for two: Cleveland scored twice in the third to make it a 5-3 game. But the inning ended on a strikeout-throw out double play at the plate, foiling a double steal attempt.
So much for that lead: Kipnis hit a three-run homer off Gabriel Ynoa in the fourth and Cleveland took a 6-5 lead. He had no homers on 101 plate appearances before this game, but tonight has produced his fifth career multi-homer game.
So much for falling behind: Stevie Wilkerson’s two-run double off the left-field wall in the fifth gave the Orioles a 7-6 lead.
Another lead change: Leonys Martin scored on Jason Kipnis’ double play ball to tie the score in the sixth. Then Roberto Pérez scored on Carlos Santana’s single off Paul Fry to give the home team an 8-7 lead.
Painful seventh: The floodgates opened in the seventh inning as the Indians batted around and piled up five runs at the expense of Fry, Miguel Castro and Richard Bleier, in his first game back from the injured list. The Tribe now lead 13-7.
Extra point: Francisco Lindor’s double plated Pérez to make it 14-7 in the eighth. Mancini singled with two out in the ninth, but Chris Davis then struck out to end it.