Thomas Eshelman on solid outing against Yankees (O’s win 5-1)

TAMPA - Right-hander Thomas Eshelman had a third straight solid outing for the club tonight as the Orioles built an early lead on the New York Yankees.

Eshelman went three innings, allowing two hits and one run with one walk and two strikeouts. He threw 43 pitches, 30 for strikes. He’s allowed two runs and four hits over eight spring innings.

He might be considered a fringe rotation candidate, but the O’s keep giving him the ball and he keeps putting up solid results. Although he said he’s not worrying or thinking much about trying to win a job.

Eshelman-Delivers-at-LAA-Gray-Sidebar.jpg“I have a different view on it,” Eshelman said outside the visiting clubhouse. “I’m not trying to do too much to put myself on the roster. I’m not trying to do too much to keep myself off the roster. I’m just kind of enjoying each day. Enjoying my teammates, my coaches. I understand what it’s like to play at that (MLB) level and I understand what it’s like to play at Triple-A. So just trying to enjoy time rather than play for something. Just trying to have fun with my guys in the field. Not trying to look into that too much. Just put myself in a good opportunity. The more I look at that (trying to win a spot), the worse I’ll get. So keep to myself with that and just get better.”

Eshelman threw one pitch that hurt him. With one out in the Yankees’ second, first baseman Luke Voit hit the first pitch out to right for a homer.

“I thought the pitch kind of leaked over the middle,” Eshelman said. “But again, play at Yankee Stadium (and) that’s gone anyways. If I want to pitch in the AL East, I have to understand how to keep the ball in the yard. Just one to learn from. I went after Gleyber (Torres) in that second at-bat, I thought that was a better fastball that he hit to center field then the one Voit hit to right. Good hitter, good piece of hitting.”

But overall, another good one for the right-hander, who went 1-2 with a 6.50 ERA in 10 games last year.

“I was pretty excited about it,” said Eshelman. “Tonight, I felt really good. I was loose with my mechanics. Ball was coming out real well. Been a while since I was able to do that. From the last time I talked with you (reporters), just kind of trusting myself and my mechanics. Did a lot of work this offseason to get to that. Just building up on each start. Feels good. The curve and changeup were good for me tonight.”

The Orioles took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. Austin Hays led off with an infield single up the middle and moved to third on Dwight Smith Jr.’s ground-rule double. With two outs and catcher Pedro Severino batting, Hays scored on a wild pitch and Smith later scored on a passed ball for a 2-0 lead against the Yankees’ No. 3 prospect, right-hander Deivi Garcia. New York pulled within 2-1 in the second on the Voit homer.

Hays turned around an Aroldis Chapman 96 mph fastball in the third for a double into the left-field corner. He was stranded there. But he began this game 2-for-18 on the spring and that double made him 2-for-2 tonight.

The O’s extended their lead in the fourth to 4-1 on Richie Martin’s two-run single. They lead by that margin in the sixth. Miguel Castro pitched a scoreless fourth and Paul Fry did the same in the last of the fifth.

O’s get the win: The Orioles closed out a 5-1 win over the Yankees. The pitching continued to be good after Eshelman left the game and six pitchers combined on a five-hitter.

Travis Lakins Sr. followed Fry and he and Dillon Tate threw scoreless innings. Right-hander Chandler Shepherd pitched the eighth and ninth to finish it out and get a save while Eshelman got the win.

The Orioles improved to 8-5-2 with the victory. They are 7-1-2 over their past 10 games. The Yankees fall to 8-5-1. The two teams meet again Sunday in Sarasota on MASN.

A few postgame notes from manager Brandon Hyde: Trey Mancini is still ill and is day-to-day now. Tonight he missed a fourth consecutive game, but he was at the Ed Smith Stadium complex earlier.

Lefty Tommy Milone threw a short side session today. Hyde said he will throw another side or a live BP before he gets into a game. That should be in about five or six days. Hyde said Milone is still in the hunt for a rotation spot, even after missing time. His only spring game was Feb. 27. Right-hander Kohl Stewart is still a go for Sunday when he will pitch and make his O’s spring debut.

Alex Cobb and John Means both threw four innings in simulated games today in Sarasota.

Hyde on Eshelman: “I’ve been impressed with Eshelman. I like the way he mixes speeds. I feel like he’s got more on his fastball this year. I like the way he threw off the plate in to set up other stuff away. Got a couple of swings in there and soft contact. Just gave up that one Yankee Stadium homer. But really mixed speeds well and competed. He’s been doing that all camp.”

Hyde on whether Eshelman is stating his case for the rotation and giving the Orioles something to think about?: “He is, yep. I think Thomas is pitching with a lot of confidence. He’s pitching with something to prove. And I feel like he’s made improvements from last year. Last year’s experience has helped him out a lot. I think he feels like he can pitch at this level, and he’s pitching like that right now.”

Hyde on the club cutting ties with Rule 5 pitchers Brandon Bailey and Michael Rucker: “I like both guys. They were both impressive. I know Mike (Elias) talked to you guys. It’s a roster decision, but I think both those guys have upside. I like them as people and thought they both competed well in camp. I wish them the best.”

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