Rookie Hess on facing Harper and squaring off against Scherzer: 'Gonna be fun' -

Dan Connolly

Rookie Hess on facing Harper and squaring off against Scherzer: ‘Gonna be fun’

David Hess has shown no fear in his first three big league starts for the Orioles, even while pitching in Fenway Park against a stacked Red Sox lineup.

So, don’t expect the rookie right-hander to be starstruck in the first inning tonight when Washington Nationals slugger Bryce Harper steps into the batter’s box.

Hess, the Orioles’ fifth-round pick out of Tennessee Tech in 2014, says the experience is “gonna be fun.”

“It’s gonna be pretty cool to see (Harper) walk up to the plate and get a chance to compete against him,” Hess said. “I know he is going to be ready to go, so I’ve got to match that intensity on the mound and it will be a lot of fun. Looking forward to it.”

One thing Hess promises, there will be no tiptoeing around Harper, no nibbling so he doesn’t get burned.

“He’s a great hitter. But, at the end of the day, I still want to go hard at him. I still want to attack him the saw way I do anybody else,” Hess said. “Because the more timid you tend to be, that’s when you run into trouble. So, even though he is that big-named guy for their team and one of the best guys in the league, I still want to go right at him and do everything I can to get him out.”

In his first three starts, Hess has allowed 18 hits in 17 1/3 innings while walking five and fanning 10. He said he felt like the one time he didn’t attack the hitters was in Boston, when he allowed eight hits – including three homers — in 4 2/3 innings. The 24-year-old believes he learned a lesson from that one, a 5-0 loss in which the Orioles were shut out by lefty Eduardo Rodriguez, a former Orioles farmhand.

Hess will pitch against a guy with a little more notoriety tonight – Washington right-hander and three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer.

Scherzer has as many Cy Young Awards as Hess has big league starts.


Hess has a sense of humor, though, too.

“Yeah, I don’t know who that Scherzer guy is,” said Hess, cracking a faint smile. “Apparently, he is pretty good, or something like that.”

Hess then laughed, and gushed appropriately about Scherzer.

“Right now, our time, (Scherzer is) one of the great pitchers we have and, maybe, to ever pitch,” Hess said. “So, to get to square off against him is going to be a lot of fun. It’s going to be a challenge for the team, but I think we have everything we need to be successful and have a chance to win.”

Ah, the optimism of a rookie.

But, understand, Hess isn’t just pitching for the Orioles, trying to snap a four-game losing streak and help his club avoid a sweep at home against a regional rival.

He’s also pitching for his friends and family back in Tennessee, who are all Atlanta Braves fans.

“I think a lot of people back home, and that I’ve been around growing up, are really excited. I grew up with a lot of Braves fans, so I know that they’re cheering for a win against the Nationals to kind of help them out,” he said. “I think they are excited about it just as much as I am.”



  1. Orial

    May 30, 2018 at 8:50 am

    I don’t expect the O’s scoring more than a 1 run and don’t expect less than 10 K’s but a decent outing by Hess would put a smile on my face. Despite Harper,Rendon the Nats lineup seems a shell of It’s former self so a good outing is a possibility.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 30, 2018 at 9:33 am

      He’s not scared. Gotta love that.

  2. 54orioles

    May 30, 2018 at 9:19 am

    Hess has the right mind. He can only try to be the best pitcher for the day. He has no control over his weak hitting teammates. Remember what happen when the USA faced the world dominating Russian hockey team. After the game everyone said what the puck just happen. Sorry couldn’t resist.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 30, 2018 at 9:33 am

      Hahha. Do I believe in puns??? Yesssss

  3. LenSakata

    May 30, 2018 at 9:19 am

    Can I have whatever Hess is drinking?

    • Dan Connolly

      May 30, 2018 at 9:34 am

      Sure. Next time at the Tap Room.

  4. Dblack2508

    May 30, 2018 at 10:38 am

    Hess has pitched ok, however the big issue is the bats against Big Max. I predict over 14 ks tonight.. BTW Dan, Jack White was awesome last night.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 30, 2018 at 11:23 am

      He apparently was at the game Monday. The dude is really talented. No matter how off-center.

  5. PA Bird Lover

    May 30, 2018 at 10:53 am

    Well Dan, I’m not so sure the Os will score any runs for the kid, but for us fans the guys of the game belong to Hess. How he does without run support is the key. If he holds them down we win regardless of the score.

    • PA Bird Lover

      May 30, 2018 at 10:56 am

      That should have read: “the guts of the game. Sorry

    • Dan Connolly

      May 30, 2018 at 11:23 am

      Yeah. I’m curious to see.

  6. Bancells Moustache

    May 30, 2018 at 11:34 am

    Good luck to that young man… he’s gonna need it.

    Is it wrong that I’ve been looking forward to this game because we might see Mad Max hit 21 Ks?

    • Dan Connolly

      May 30, 2018 at 11:36 am

      I think it’s prescient.

  7. Baltimos687

    May 30, 2018 at 11:43 am

    Great article DC. At what point does this terrible organization do something? Last place in 2017. 21 games under in May of 2018. Lame duck coach, GM. The Redsox fired their coach after an AL east crown. The Yankees fired their manager when he was 1 game from a WS appearance. The Orioles are working on 50 games under .500 the past 2 seasons and not a single mention of change. It’s infuriating and embarrassing.

  8. TxBirdFan

    May 30, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    Having fun watching the young guys should be fun for the rest of the year. Wish we were playing in DC so Hess could try his attitude at hitting.

    Might as well play Davis tonight since he’ll be in the majority with K’s.

  9. 54orioles

    May 30, 2018 at 9:22 pm

    Sitting here watching the game……Hess did all he could not sure about the hitters

  10. jkneps63

    May 30, 2018 at 9:41 pm

    Caught stealing third with no outs in B9 trailing 2-0…this about sums up the season.

    FIRE BUCK, he sucks.

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