BALTIMORE—As auditions continue for the 2019 starting rotation, David Hess has impressed the Orioles with his second wind. Hess had a bold start to his major league career when four of his first five major league outings were solid ones.
Then, reality set in and four much weaker ones helped send him back to Triple-A Norfolk.
Hess returned to the starting rotation after the trade of Kevin Gausman to Atlanta, and his 3 1/3 innings at Texas Aug. 3 were weak, when he allowed seven runs, five earned, in an 11-3 loss.
But things have gotten better since. Hess gave up two runs on five hits in six innings at Cleveland on Aug. 17, and five days ago, allowed just a run on three hits at Toronto.
Although he lost both games, he showed definite progress. On Monday, Hess pitched six shutout innings, giving the Blue Jays just four hits in a 7-0 Orioles win.
It broke the Orioles’ eight-game losing streak, one shy of their season high, and was just their second win against Toronto in 14 games in 2018. It was their sixth shutout.
After the debacle in Texas, Hess met with pitching coach Roger McDowell and manager Buck Showalter. McDowell challenged him to do better, and Hess said that was a turning point.
“In a lot of ways, I think it was because I kind of pride myself on being a competitor and stuff, and I think that brought that out a little more,” Hess said.
“That kind of resonated and showed a little bit in Cleveland. I think that was a big turning point as well. With the bases loaded, the strikeout of [Yonder] Alonso.
“It was kind of showing even when I’m in a jam I can make pitches and get our way out of situations. But finding a way not to get into those situations to begin with, that’s really what we’ve been working on. Just minimizing damage, whatever the situation was, and try to keep out of those positions to begin with.”
Rogers to make debut
Tuesday will bring another one of the players acquired in July’s trade spree to the major leagues. Josh Rogers, who was acquired in the Zach Britton trade with the New York Yankees on July 24, will become the fifth of the 15 players new to the organization to play for the Orioles.
Rogers, who is 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA in five starts with Triple-A Norfolk, will become the 11th starting pitcher for the Orioles this season, and the first left-hander.
He’ll join second baseman Jonathan Villar, who was picked up from Milwaukee in the trade for Jonathan Schoop. Cody Carroll, who came along with Rogers in the deal, was sent back to the Tides to make room for Rogers. Carroll was 0-2 with a 7.00 ERA in nine games.
Evan Phillips, who came in the Kevin Gausman grade with Atlanta, is back with Norfolk after four games and a 21.60 ERA with the Orioles.
Utility infielder Breyvic Valera, who came from the Dodgers in the Manny Machado trade, played one game earlier this month for the Orioles. He’s also in Norfolk.
The 24-year-old Rodgers was an 11th round pick of the Yankees in 2015, and he’ll become the 53rd Oriole used in a game, one shy of the club record set in 1955. He’ll also be the 12th Oriole to make his major league debut this season, two short of the record.
Mancini equals career high
Trey Mancini had five RBIs, equaling a career-high. He had a three-run home run in the sixth, his club-leading 19th, and a two-run double in the seventh.
It was Mancini’s seventh game as designated hitter.
“I don’t mind it all. You just try and find a routine,” Mancini said. “I think that’s an important aspect of it that people don’t know. When you’re not playing the field, all your thinking about is your at-bats and what have you. Since I’ve been doing it a little more often, I’ve trying to get a routine down.
“So after I hit, I’ll hang in the dugout a little bit and watch the game. Like if I’m in the five-spot, whenever the nine-hole or the leadoff guy gets on, I’ll go in and start taking balls off the Iron Mike, hitting off the tee, talking to [assistant hitting coach Howie Clark] about my previous at-bats and what he might do to me next time. You have a lot of time to prepare, too, so you can kind of get used to it.”
Morales doesn’t connect
Few fans seemed to be aware that Toronto’s Kendrys Morales was on the verge of tying a major league record. Morales had homered in seven straight games. If he had homered in an eighth, it would have tied a major league record held by Ken Griffey Jr., Don Mattingly and Dale Long.
Morales was hitless in three at-bats, and walked. Paul Fry struck him out with two runners on and none out in the eighth to end the streak.
Fry said he had no idea that Morales was going for a historic home run.
“I might have heard something about ‘break a streak’ from one of the fans, but I don’t know what it was,” Fry said.