O’s game blog: Tom Eshelman faces San Diego

SAN DIEGO - Can the Orioles find a way to slow the San Diego Padres batters? Right-hander Tom Eshelman (0-2, 5.79 ERA), who grew up near here, will get a chance this afternoon.

San Diego has gone 3-0 versus the Orioles this year and hit four, five and five homers in those games. They’ve won 8-3, 10-5 and 8-1 over the Orioles. When the O’s got here yesterday, San Diego was not playing well with a record of 4-11 since the All-Star break and 1-9 in their past 10 home games.

But they bashed five homers Monday night at Petco Park and improved to 50-56 with last night’s win. Eric Hosmer homered twice, his fifth career multi-homer game and his first since June 10, 2016.

Eshelman-Delivers-at-LAA-Gray-Sidebar.jpgToday, the soft-tossing Eshelman gets his shot. He came out of the bullpen to throw 4 1/3 innings, allowing one run Friday at Anaheim, pitching not far from his college, Cal State-Fullerton. Today he pitches at Petco Park and he’s from Carlsbad, Calif., which is about 30 miles north of here.

“It was surreal,” Eshelman said about pitching on Friday. “Being able to pitch in front of friends and family members and also ex-college teammates was pretty special for me. Growing up in that city, I went to quite a few Padres games. Saw Trevor Hoffman quite a few times. To pitch in the same stadium as him would also be special.”

At a time when Major League Baseball is loaded with pitchers with big velocity, Eshelman is at the other end of the spectrum. His four-seam fastball averages 85.3 mph.

“It’s one of those things where you understand who you are as a pitcher and try to go out and do what you do,” he said. “Growing up, watching guys like Greg Maddux and Kyle Hendricks pitch, you learn a lot from guys. They have less room for error sometimes, but more of an understanding what to throw as well. I try to be like those guys, have pinpoint control and mix speeds still even while throwing 85, 86 (mph).”

The Orioles’ three-city road trip ends today. They went 1-2 at Arizona, 3-1 in Anaheim and are 0-1 here. So 4-4 with one game left on the trip. The Orioles (35-71) have won three of five and four of seven. They are 7-5 the last 12 games and 13-13 in their past 26.

San Diego’s starter today is 27-year-old right-hander Dinelson Lamet (0-2, 5.00 ERA), who will be making his fifth major league start of 2019 and the 26th of his career. He has thrown five, five, four and four innings in his games this year and the Padres are 1-3 in those starts.

He has a WHIP of 1.389 and allows nine hits and two homers per nine innings with 3.5 walks and 12.5 strikeouts. Lamet throws his four-seam fastball 48 percent of the time at 95.6 mph and his slider 46 percent at 86 mph.

The native of the Dominican Republic has a career mark of 7-10 with a 4.62 ERA. He has never faced the Orioles.

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