BALTIMORE—It was a day of two games and one big news story for the Baltimore Orioles.
Starting pitcher Andrew Cashner, who was 9-3 on a team with a 24-68 record, was traded to the Boston Red Sox for 17-year-old international prospects Elio Prado, an outfielder, and Noelberth Romero, an infielder. It was the latest move by general manager Mike Elias to rebuild with young talent and came 18 days before the July 31 trade deadline.
The trade was announced Saturday between a 2-1 victory over Tampa Bay keyed by a Stevie Wilkerson home run and a strong bullpen effort, and a 12-4 loss at night that featured six Tampa Bay home runs in a game started by All-Star John Means.
“Good for Andrew Cashner,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “I’m happy for him. He was phenomenal for me, for the coaching staff, for the players. He was the ultimate team guy, ultra pro, unbelievably competitive and was a huge help not only for me but everybody else.
“I wish him the best, except when we face him. Hopefully, he gets a chance to go to the postseason and wishing good things for him.”
Means, who didn’t pitch in the All-Star Game, hadn’t started since pitching seven strong innings at Tampa Bay on July 3. He had grown close to Cashner.
“It was pretty crazy,” Means said. “He’s kind of our fearless leader, so to have a guy like that who is kind of your voice is kind of tough.”
Means allowed a career-high six runs and three of the six home runs. His ERA rose from 2.50 to 2.94. Means hadn’t allowed more than four runs in any of his starts this season.
“I thought Means threw the ball pretty good,” Hyde said. “I thought they cheated a couple fastballs in … the ball was carrying good and they kind of hit it in that left-center field area where it’s pretty short.
“I think his breaking ball was real good tonight, but had a real good changeup early in the game. It was a 3-2 game going into the sixth … It got away from us after that.”
Means said the Cashner trade wouldn’t alter his mindset.
“There’s no pressure,” Means said. “The goal this year is a lot of guys are getting a lot of time, getting a lot of work in without a lot of pressure, obviously, to perform and get wins. Obviously, we’re here rebuilding.”
Means will have new teammates in the rotation without Cashner and with Dylan Bundy on the 10-day injured list because of tendinitis in his right knee.
If asked for his advice, it would be simple.
“Just kind of come up here and don’t act like you have to do anything more than you were doing,” Means said. “A lot of guys come up here, including myself last year … You come up here, you feel like you have to change something. It’s the big leagues, so you’re facing the best hitters in the world day in and day out. But honestly it’s the same game … you come in with your best stuff.”
Hyde unsure about Sunday: The likely Sunday starter is Tom Eshelman, who was scheduled to start for Triple-A Norfolk.
Eshelman made his major league debut on July 1 against the Rays when he allowed two runs on six hits in five innings.
For Hyde, there’s a lot more improvisation.
“We’re realistic about where we are and about possible movement … we’re a million miles away from being where we’re going to be here sometime soon,” Hyde said.
“These are things that are going to happen. We need people to step up. Like I’ve said a million times, it’s the land of opportunity. We’re giving guys starts. If you can’t savor these moments while you’re in the clubhouse you’re going to kick yourself later in life because this doesn’t come around all the time, so we’re going to make due with what we have.”
Scott debuts: Tayler Scott became the 48th player and 33rd pitcher for the Orioles when he allowed three runs in the ninth. Scott, who was acquired on waivers from Seattle on June 25, was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk on Saturday.
Scott is the first major leaguer from South Africa. He arrived in the United States at 17.
“It’s very small, very tiny,” Scott said of baseball in South Africa. “It’s kind of just a recreational thing — guys play for fun. I played a little bit back there, but once I came over, I got a little bit more serious.”
Scott didn’t follow the game much in South Africa.
“I saw people playing on a field one day. It wasn’t really on TV at all back there except at three o’clock in the morning. There wasn’t much exposure for baseball down there.”
Big slumps: Dwight Smith Jr. was hitless in five at-bats. He’s now 0-for-26. Trey Mancini, who’s hitless in his last 20 at-bats, was given the evening off.