Thomas Eshelman might be making a late push for a rotation spot. Or if John Means can’t make his first start, that could make room for right-hander Eshelman, who made a case for himself tonight in Philadelphia.
Eshelman threw 4 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing four singles, as the Orioles beat the Phillies 5-1 at Citizens Bank Park. It is the first of three exhibitions for the Orioles ahead of their July 24 opener at Fenway Park in Boston.
Eshelman actually made the last exhibition game start for the Orioles before the baseball shutdown in March, but this one was so much better. In that March 11 game in Dunedin, Fla., he allowed nine runs over two innings against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Tonight he fanned his first two hitters, getting Andrew McCutchen and Bryce Harper in a 1-2-3 opening inning. He allowed two singles in the second, but a nice catch by right fielder Stevie Wilkerson helped him escape that jam. Wilkerson seemed to injure his left wrist running in for a sliding catch to make that play and was pinch-hit for in the third by Dilson Herrera.
Eshelman also stranded two in the third inning. He left in the fifth with two out and Adam Haseley on first after an infield single. His pitching line remained scoreless when Tanner Scott fanned Harper swinging at a 97 mph fastball.
Eshelman walked and fanned five in an 85-pitch outing with 58 strikes. He spotted his 86 mph fastball and got seven groundouts among his 13 outs. Earlier in summer camp, he worked twice in intrasquad games, allowing just two runs (one earned) over eight innings.
Tonight’s first run came off the bat of Orioles catcher Pedro Severino. He lined a 3-1 Zack Wheeler fastball out to right-center for a homer in the top of the second and a 1-0 lead. Severino got a high heater at 96 mph and made solid contact leading off the inning. In the first spring training, he hit .217 and homered once in 25 plate appearances.
The lead grew to 2-0 in the Baltimore fourth. Chris Davis led off and walked on a 3-1 pitch. After Severino lined out, Davis advanced to second on a wild pitch. He scored when Hanser Alberto lined a single to left-center to make it a 2-0 game.
The Orioles might have produced a bigger inning, but it was halted with just one out after Alberto’s single. Wheeler faced just three batters that frame, but threw 18 pitches to get to 76 for the game to that point, and they halted the inning as the game moved to the last of the fourth. But the O’s did get four outs in the fifth inning so reliever Connor Brogdan could extend his pitch count.
The Phillies scored once in the seventh on a Harper RBI single.
Mullins, who leaped at the wall to make a nice catch in the sixth, led off the Baltimore eighth with a solo homer to right off Reggie McClain. Pat Valaika hit a solo homer in the ninth and Ryan Mountcastle added a solo shot in the 10th.
Yes, they did play a top of the 10th even though this game was not tied. But there was not a bottom half of the 10th. It was that kind of night in Philly.
The Orioles went 9-7-3 in the first spring training and win their first of summer camp tonight. They’ll play the Washington Nationals the next two nights at 6:05 p.m. Each of those games, including’s tomorrow’s contest at Camden Yards, will be televised live on MASN. Alex Cobb faces Stephen Strasburg on Monday night.