David Hess started for the Orioles today. That’s really all you need to know. Hess allowed seven runs in four plus innings, and the Orioles inevitably lost 8-2 to the Giants Saturday afternoon.
We’re now another start removed from Hess’s hitless gem against Toronto on April 1. I’ve never really reflected on the fact that his lone quality start came on April Fools’ Day. I’m sure it’s been pointed out before, but it’s certainly fitting. Hess moved to 1-7 on the season, and his ERA has ballooned even higher to 7.36. The Orioles have lost in eight of his last nine starts.
Orioles manager Brandon Hyde has been asked, and will continue to be asked, if the Orioles plan to keep starting Hess. He’s been candid in his responses, and essentially answers with “there’s no one else to send out there.” At some point that has to change, but that day is to be determined.
Just two days away from the first round of the MLB draft, there’s a hint of optimism in the air. It’s easy to get excited about the future after listening to Mike Elias or Sig Mejdal talk about advanced scouting and building toward the future. But the fact that there is no one else in the organization that can start over David Hess speaks to how far the organization has fallen.
The Giants did not waste any time in this one. After Hess walked back-to-back players, Brandon Belt punched a two-out single to right field that plated both runs. After falling behind in the first inning for the second consecutive game, the Orioles failed to answer today.
Hess bounced back with an eight pitch second inning, but the Giants struck again in the third. With a full count and two outs, Buster Posey drove a fly ball that landed just above the scoreboard in right field. The ball bounced back into play, and DJ Stewart fired it to second base, but after a slight delay the first-base umpire signaled for Posey to touch them all.
Hess retired the side in order in the fourth inning, but the wheels fell of in the fifth. Kevin Pillar double to left, and Joe Panik drove him in with a single to center. Oriole-killer Mike Yastrzemski followed with a single, and Hess walked Posey to load the bases. At that point, Tim Cossins had seen enough. Cossins served as the Orioles manager while Hyde attended his step-daughter’s graduation in Chicago.
The Orioles turned to Miguel Castro, who entered the game with three inherited runners. Castro retired Pablo Sandoval, but Brandon Belt broke the game open with a double to right. Posey held at third, but eventually came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Evan Longoria. The Orioles trailed 7-1.
Renato Nunez continued his power surge with a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth. The ball exited at 104.9 MPH and traveled 416 feet. The blast was Nunez’s 15th of the season. Nunez and Trey Mancini both finished 2-4, and were the only Baltimore players with multiple hits.
Austin Wynns drove in Baltimore’s only other run in the fifth inning. Rio Ruiz had reached on a fielder’s choice, moved up after a wild pitch, and came around to score on the single by Wynns.
Josh Lucas pitched the final two innings for Baltimore. The Giants added a run on a sacrifice fly by Yastrzemski in the ninth inning.
Mancini seemed a bit shaken up after an awkward slide in the eighth inning. San Francisco shortstop Brand Crawford was late to cover second base on a fielder’s choice, and Mancini did not begin his slide right away. Mancini sat on the field for just a moment, and looked down at his ankle as he returned to the dugout. He did come back out to play the field in the ninth inning.
With or without Hess on the mound, the Orioles probably were not going to win today. They managed only two runs off of Giants rookie Shaun Anderson. Anderson picked up his first Major League win after seven strong innings.
The Orioles will look to take the series tomorrow afternoon. Gabriel Ynoa will start for the Birds, and Jeff Samardzija will be on the mound for San Francisco.