Oriole pitchers surrender five more homers; Bleier to IL; Davis optimistic - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Oriole pitchers surrender five more homers; Bleier to IL; Davis optimistic


BALTIMORE—Oriole pitchers are struggling to keep the ball in the ballpark. In their 8-5 loss to the Oakland Athletics on Thursday, the Orioles gave up five home runs for the second straight game.

They set a franchise record by allowing a home run in each of their first 13 games and are three games away from equaling the 2009 Philadelphia Phillies’ major league record. The Phillies gave up home runs in their first 16 games.

Dylan Bundy, who allowed a major league leading 41 home runs last year, gave up four, including two to Khris Davis, who also hit a pair on Wednesday night. Davis leads the major leagues with nine home runs.

Bundy said location is the issue.

“Not throw the ball right down the middle,” he said. “That’s the biggest key. Get in counts that favor me, rather than them. That’s getting strike one or getting an early swing strike. Just got to do a better job in the later innings and get the counts I want to throw in.”

Bundy has given up six homers in his first three starts.

“I thought this was Dylan’s best start,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “I thought he had really good stuff — two good breaking balls, a really good changeup. He had more hop on his fastball. Just the long ball…pitch count was low.

“We were down three runs, and he pitched into the sixth inning. Right away, two homers knocked him out of the game. But I thought from the stuff-standpoint, it was the best I’ve seen him all year.  I thought his changeup was really good. He kept guys off-balance. It was just a few mistakes. They didn’t hit singles. They went deep.”

Mychal Givens gave up a home run in the ninth to Marcus Semien.

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The Athletics hit 14 home runs this series, and the Orioles have allowed 37.

The Orioles trailed, 7-1, but scored four runs in the seventh to close to 7-5.

More pitching woes: Three Orioles pitchers have landed on the 10-day injured list in the last three days. On Thursday, Richard Bleier joined Alex Cobb and Nate Karns.

Bleier was placed on the 10-day IL because of left shoulder tendinitis. Though the move was retroactive to April 10, don’t expect Bleier back when he’s eligible.

He underwent lat surgery in June and has struggled in his return. Bleier has allowed seven runs in 7 1/3 innings for a 14.54 ERA.

“Throughout this entire process, there’s been various steps of progression, and I feel like I’m one step from being back to normal,” Bleier said. “I’m close, but not quite there, yet…If I can get rid of the shoulder tendinitis that I’m kind of battling through right now that flared up the other day and get back to a steady program, just kind of continue the rehab thing rather than compete in major league games, I think it’ll do me more good.”

Bleier will go to Sarasota, Fla., for rehab.

“I can pitch when I need to pitch and throw when I need to throw as opposed to big league games,” Bleier said.

“I wouldn’t call it a setback. I think I probably was overambitious with Opening Day. Spring went well, so it’s hard to say it was a bad idea. The way I felt and the way I was responding, I could tell that I needed more time.”

Bleier didn’t pitch in Grapefruit League games until relatively late in spring training because Hyde was being cautious with him.

“A lot of lat injuries are misdiagnosed as shoulder injuries so that I think it’s related to the lat,” Bleier said. “There’s no structural damage or anything like that. I think it’s part of the process where you don’t feel 100 percent. They say it was nine months, game-ready, but I think it takes a little bit longer than that for some people.”

Bleier acknowledged that the rehab will take time.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a 10-day thing,” he said. “I don’t think it’s going to be much longer. I’m hoping to get back here as quickly as possible. When I’m back here I need to be able and compete and pitch like I normally do. It’s hard to go out there…obviously, it’s not working out right now.”

Hyde wanted Bleier to prove he could come back from the injury, but in retrospect, that could have been overly ambitious.

“You want to give a guy who’s been around the benefit of the doubt,” Hyde said. “Rich worked his butt off to come back. It’s a pretty major lat surgery that he had.

“Should we have slow played it a little bit? Maybe. That’s why we made the decision on Mark [Trumbo, who is recovering from knee surgery]. It was obvious that Mark needed more time, and we’re going to give Mark as much time as he needs. I just  like talking to the veteran player and getting their standpoint and view on it. Now, we’ve got to take a little bit of a breather and hope they’ll be back in a couple of weeks.”

Davis’ woes continue: Chris Davis set a major league record for most plate appearances without a hit. After going hitless in three at-bats, as well as a walk, Davis has made 61 plate appearances without a hit. He’s 0-for-32 this season and extended his major league record to 53 at-bats without a hit.

Davis hit a fly ball to deep center that Ramon Laureano tracked down in the second and hit a ball into the infield shift in the fourth. He walked and scored in the seventh.

He’s been working on adjustments with hitting coach Don Long.

“It feels completely different,” Davis said. “I would hope it looks different, too. I feel like I’m seeing the ball a lot better. I feel like I’m putting good swings on the ball.

“…The last three days we’ve done kind of a drill series that’s new, something that Don came up with that I really like. I feel like it’s been very productive and I’m going to stay after it, I’m not going to give in, I’m not going to give up. That’s not who I am, that’s not what I’m about. And at some point it will turn around.”

Bullpen additions: To replace Bleier and Josh Rogers, who stepped in for Cobb, the Orioles recalled Tanner Scott and selected the contract of Josh Lucas, both from Triple-A Norfolk.

Scott allowed two hits and recorded one out, and Lucas pitched two innings, allowing an unearned run.

Lucas, who signed a minor league contract, was one of the later cuts in spring training. He had 13 games of big league experience with St. Louis and Oakland in 2017 and 2018.

“Lucas was right there at the end,” Hyde said of his spring training performance. “He threw the ball so well. We told him then, it’s probably not going to be very long before he’s called up, and third week of the season, he’s up.”

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