BALTIMORE—The evening began nicely for the Orioles. David Hess sped through four innings, allowing just one baserunner. Although the Orioles didn’t score, it was a promising start.
However, things quickly came undone in the fifth. Hess allowed a three-run home run to James McCann to key a four-run inning.
The Orioles allowed four-run innings in the fifth, seventh and eighth as the Chicago White Sox pounded them, 12-2, on Monday night.
In Hess’ first start, exactly three weeks ago, he was removed after 6 1/3 hitless innings. He got the win, but has lost four straight. Hess was removed after five innings.
Oriole starters have produced just three quality starts — that first one by Hess, one by Andrew Cashner the next night, and Dylan Bundy’s six-inning effort on Sunday.
The Orioles have lost 10 of 11 at home, and in five of those losses have given up 10 or more runs.
“I think everybody wants to go out and we want to win ballgames and, unfortunately, we’ve had some tough luck with that on this homestand and at home,” Hess said.
“We do have a really competitive group, but also a group of guys that’s working really hard, and I think the results aren’t there right now, but there’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes.
“Seeing it on an everyday basis, the right things are happening and the right things are in place to where those things will turn around. Baseball is such a humbling game in a way, and then it can also be really uplifting at times. So right now we’re just in a little bit of that humbling time, and we’re looking ahead and we’re looking forward to when that shifts.”
Castro loses control: In the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, Tanner Scott pitched two perfect innings, striking out five of the six batters he faced. On Monday night, he allowed four runs, two of them unearned due to an error by Richie Martin, striking out two. Jose Abreu hit a two-run home run to right on a 2-0 fastball.
Miguel Castro, who entered the game with an 8.18 ERA, had a disastrous eighth inning when he faced seven batters and retired only one. He allowed four runs on four hits, two walks and threw three wild pitches. His ERA is now 10.80.
“Miggy’s trying. It’s not from lack of effort,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “It’s not from lack of work beforehand. It’s not from how bad he wants it. It just didn’t happen today. He’s had some good moments. He’s had some moments he’d like to forget. His stuff is really, really good. Tonight, he had a tough time getting ahead of hitters. When every hitter’s 2-0, and sitting on stuff, it’s a lot easier to hit.”
Position player pitching madness: In the first 64 years of Orioles baseball, they used a position player to pitch nine times. In the first 24 games this season, they’ve used three.
Hanser Alberto allowed two runs in an inning in a 15-3 loss to New York on April 7. Chris Davis, who had been one of the nine position players to pitch, gave up in a run in the ninth inning of Saturday night’s 16-7 loss to Minnesota.
Catcher Jesus Sucre, who had five previous relief appearances to his credit, threw a 1-2-3 ninth.
Sucre said that Hyde approached Alberto, who was playing third base about pitching after the eighth inning, and the catcher volunteered to throw instead.
Hyde didn’t want Sucre to pitch because he’s planning to catch him on Tuesday, but Sucre said he wouldn’t overthrow.
“It’s tough. We’ve been having tough games in the last few days,” Sucre said. “I’m here to help my guys. I kind of picked my guys up a little bit. I’m here to help them out and they need me, and they want me to do that. I’m going to be there.”
Hyde says he’s using position players to preserve more wear on his bullpen, and that the Orioles won’t be adding another reliever for Tuesday’s game.
“We’re going with what we’ve got,” Hyde said.
Martin’s tough night: In his first 19 games at shortstop, Martin made one error. He committed two on Monday night.
He made his first in the sixth when he muffed Nicky Delmonico’s ground ball, but his most glaring came in the seventh when Yonder Alonso, who was on second tried to take third on a grounder to Martin.
Two innings earlier, Martin threw out Ryan Cordell on a similar play.
Martin’s throw to Alberto was wild and reached the third base dugout, and Alonso was awarded home plate.
Offensively, Martin has had a tough time, which wasn’t unexpected because he’s making the jump from Double-A to the majors. He’s hitting just .167 (9-for-54) with an RBI.
Hyde isn’t concerned about Martin’s defense.
“Richie just had a tough night defensively because he’s been so good all year long,” Hyde said. “Those games definitely happen, and he’s going to have another one like that. He’s going to have a couple like that. That’s just part of playing for six months. Those things happen. First weeks of the year, Richie’s defense has been spectacular, kind of a couple tough plays tonight. I wouldn’t let it…his confidence won’t be shaken by it. He’s been really good.”