TORONTO - The Orioles have made an adjustment to their rotation for the final game before the All-Star break. Gabriel Ynoa was originally listed as the starter and while he is staying in the rotation, right-hander Asher Wojciechowski will get the start on Sunday against Toronto.
“He’s on regular rest and we kind of want to see him again,” manager Brandon Hyde said today. “Got a lot of stuff after the break, the doubleheader and some others things. So just taking another look at him. Ynoa is still in the rotation but we are using him out of the ‘pen the next two days.”
Acquired by the Orioles from Cleveland for cash considerations, Wojciechowski pitched Tuesday against Tampa Bay. Over 5 1/3 innings he allowed four runs with two walks and six strikeouts.
Chris Davis, who drove in three runs last night, has homered now in two of the last three games. Hyde said it’s a good sign that both went left of center field.
“For me most power guys are best when they are going opposite gap,” he said. “Yeah, I loved to see him hit that fastball in Tampa the other night down the line. I love to see him drive the ball to left center. CD, like we talked last night, I’d like to see him more aggressive early in the count on fastballs and be ready to hit. Both of those were early in the count homers. Sometimes he gets too deep into counts and tries to see too many pitches and gets into defensive counts instead being aggressive. Love to see the aggressive swings on those balls.”
Hyde today was asked if two minor league pitchers that recently moved to bullpen roles, could make their way to Baltimore this year out of the ‘pen. Hunter Harvey has thrown 11 scoreless innings on one hit between Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk in relief. Right-hander Dillon Tate is 1-1 with a 2.21 ERA since moving to the Bowie ‘pen. Over 20 1/3 innings he has walked three and fanned 21.
“I think they are developing but there is a possibility that one or both of those guys could be up here if they continue to pitch well. I know Hunter is throwing the ball great and it seems like Dillon’s stuff has gotten better coming out of the ‘pen. They are still developing but there is a chance that one or both could be up here at some point,” Hyde said.
Hess has thrown 11 consecutive scoreless innings over four games with Norfolk. In his last appearance on Wednesday, Hess worked two scoreless innings with no hits allowed and three strikeouts. Over the four games, he surrendered four hits and struck out 14 batters in 11 innings.
“Sounds like he was really throwing the ball well,” said Hyde. “Obviously we read all the game reports and talked to people. Velo was up a little bit and he was having success out of the ‘pen, so looking forward to seeing what he can do here.”
Hess talked about his brief time in Norfolk.
“I think I just really got back to the mindset of attacking hitters. Understanding that the stuff is there and has been there, but just using it in a way that is productive was really the goal of going down there. It was a good reset and hopefully that pays off now. I just needed to get maybe a little bit of a mental breather and work on stuff in not the big leagues. Having the chance to just go down and decompress gives you time to reset,” he said.
A big fourth: The O’s batted nine and took a 5-0 lead in the fourth. Renato Núñez smoked a two-run homer at 109 mph as he hit No. 20. The O’s had four hits and took advantage of two Toronto errors.
Jays get one back: With two outs in the bottom of the fourth, Cavan Biggio singled to right field to score Vladimir Guerrero Jr. from second. The Orioles lead 5-1.
Orioles add to their lead: Villar scorched a double to right field, advanced to third on a wild pitch and then scored on a bloop RBI single from Anthony Santander. The O’s head to the bottom of the eighth with a 7-1 lead over the Blue Jays.
O’s tack on one more in the ninth: Wilkerson’s RBI single in the sixth came from the right side of the plate. The switch-hitter led off the top of the ninth with a solo homer from the left side, his seventh of the season, to give the Orioles an 8-1 lead.