BALTIMORE—Dillon Tate has allowed six runs in his first five major league innings for an ERA of 10.80. To manager Brandon Hyde, the 25-year-old right-hander has pitched much better than the stats indicate.
“I don’t have a long track record with Dillon except for some innings in spring training and monitoring the minor leagues and seeing him these last couple of appearances,” Hyde said. “But really impressed last night with his stuff. He had three pitches he threw for strikes. Not easy for a young player to come to the big leagues and pound the strike zone the way he’s doing.”
In his major league debut on Monday at San Diego, Tate allowed his first three batters to reach, and they all scored. He retired six of his next seven hitters, walking the other.
On Thursday night, he retired his first six batters before Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit a 450-foot home run. He gave up a two-run home run in the ninth to Billy McKinney.
“He had that first rough inning in San Diego where he was probably pretty nervous, and rightfully so,” Hyde said. “He has a really good second inning in San Diego, and last night, I loved how he attacked their hitters.”
Hyde took the blame for the home run to McKinney “because he was out on the field too long,” Hyde said. “We were in a tough bullpen spot, and I was trying to get him through the inning. I felt bad for it after.”
Tate said that he didn’t feel tired after facing 12 batters.
“I was just going out there and throwing my best stuff,” Tate said. “Just competing, and it was fun.”
Tate made his debut on the road, not far from his Southern California home. He said he wasn’t nervous in his Baltimore debut.
“I still felt like I had surpassed the debut at that point,” Tate said.
Because there were so many pitchers to look at early in spring training, Hyde didn’t get many opportunities to see Tate.
“I didn’t see the command early this spring that I do now,” Hyde said. “And the velo. I didn’t see 96, 97 with sink … Now we’re seeing the guy that’s got three-plus pitches. I love the sinker. I love the fastball. I love that he has other stuff to go to, and I love that he threw strikes.
Tate moved up from Double-A Bowie instead of Triple-A Norfolk.
“I think it matters. I think it’s impressive,” Hyde said. “He’s on the 40-man roster, and we needed a bullpen piece that was on the 40-man roster. We had options at Triple-A that weren’t available, so Dillon all of a sudden became available and just been impressed with his stuff.
“Triple-A is a step that you would love to see guys take, but I have seen a lot of guys go from Double-A to the big leagues and never go back to Triple-A.”
Slumping Sisco: Catcher Chance Sisco enters Friday in a 1-for-19 slump, and he’s batting .229. He hasn’t driven in a run since July 7.
“I think Chance is just really pressing,” Hyde said. “He’s in one of those modes right now. We had a few guys like that a couple of weeks ago where he’s kind of chasing hits.
“What I love about Chance so far is strike zone discipline. A couple of guys you see hit swing a little bit early, chasing some stuff out of the zone, which he wasn’t doing the first few weeks. He was being more selective … getting on pitches that he could drive. Now, I feel he’s showing some frustration.”
Sisco was 1-for-4 on Thursday night. “Even though the results weren’t there, I thought he had a couple of good swings last night,” Hyde said.
The 24-year-old hasn’t transferred his batting issues to behind the plate, and Hyde’s happy about that.
“I haven’t even talked to him about it,” Hyde said. “Chance is as frustrated with a bad defensive inning as he is with a bad at-bat. It matters to him. It matters that he’s trying to get guys through innings. He’s not a selfish guy at all, and his defense is really important to him.”
Sisco has thrown out just four of 25 runners trying to steal.
“I think it’s something he can improve on,” Hyde said. “But there are a lot of catchers who aren’t throwing runners out in the big leagues right now … He’s a young catcher, learning his way in the big leagues. There are some footwork [and] arm stuff that we can help clean up and get better. It’s tough to do in a major league season.”
Wilkerson’s sore knee: Stevie Wilkerson fouled a ball off his right knee in Thursday’s game, and Hyde reports that “his knee has really swelled up.” Tests are being performed on it.
“We’re hoping for the best news,” Hyde said. “I don’t think it’s going to be too long, but the knee is really swollen.”
Wilkerson says he could play, but that doesn’t look likely.
“Stevie’s really tough and didn’t’ want to come out of the game last night,” Hyde said.
Hanser Alberto’s left shin is better. He’s not in the starting lineup, but he could play. Asher Wojciechowski’s right hip is fine, and he should be able to make his start.
Means on track: John Means, who’s on the 10-day injured list with a left bicep strain, thinks he’ll be ready to pitch Wednesday against the New York Yankees.
He’s thrown for two straight days and should thrown a bullpen session in the next few days.
Means has been on the IL twice in recent weeks, for a strained left shoulder and now for the biceps.
“It’s very, very minimal,” Means said. “It’s nothing to be worried about. It’s just very frustrating because it is so minimal that I had to miss time.”
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB
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