Major League Baseball

Orioles’ Hess trying to avoid HRs at Coors Field

mlb11ORIOLES (16-36) AT ROCKIES (23-27)
3:10 p.m. ET; ATTSN-RM, MASN2, MLB.TV

David Hess is making history this season, but it’s not the kind of record book where a player wants to make his mark.

Hess, the 25-year-old right-hander for the Baltimore Orioles, has allowed 17 home runs, the most in the majors, and the total through nine starts is also a record for a Baltimore pitcher.

It won’t get any easier for him, either. Hess is the scheduled starter on Sunday for the last of a three-game series against the Colorado Rockies. Coors Field is a hitter’s park, and balls fly into the seats at a rapid rate, so if Hess is hoping to slow down the home run rate, Sunday might be a bad fit for him.

Hess isn’t alone in allowing long balls this season. The Baltimore staff has given up 113, most in the majors by a large margin.

“Guys are trying to hit, not necessarily home runs but do damage with each pitch,” Hess told the Baltimore Sun on Thursday.

If the first two games of this series were any indication, Sunday could add to Hess’ total. The Rockies hit four home runs in Friday’s win and two more on Saturday, but the Orioles won 9-6 to end a seven-game losing streak.

Hess (1-6, 6.75 ERA) has a small advantage in that he has never faced the Rockies in his short career, which began a year ago.

He will also face a lineup that will likely be without Charlie Blackmon. The outfielder has missed the first two games of the series with a calf strain, but the Rockies don’t think he will be out long enough to warrant a trip to the injured list.

Manager Bud Black said Saturday that Blackmon is progressing, and the training staff is “encouraged” by his improvement.

Hess might have to limit the damage, because Colorado is sending its best pitcher to the mound on Sunday.

Rockies starter German Marquez has never faced Baltimore, but he has thrived in interleague matchups. He is 5-0 with a 2.52 ERA against the AL, and in his 10 starts, he has thrown eight quality starts.

Marquez (5-2, 3.38) is also coming off his best game of the season. He went a season-high eight innings and fanned seven to beat the Pirates in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, allowing just three hits. He is now trying to steady an up-and-down May with another gem against Baltimore.

Marquez has allowed five runs in two of his four starts this month, and his ERA for the month is 4.15, a full run higher than in April. Despite those two shaky starts, Marquez is 2-0 in May and the team is 3-1 in those starts. He has become an antidote to the rest of Colorado’s current rotation, which is a combined 9-18.

Marquez has embraced the role of stopper. His outing against Pittsburgh ended the team’s four-game losing streak.

“I think there are guys, over time, who have that pride, that ego, to say, ‘We’re winning tonight. I’m going to pitch a good game,’ ” Black said after Tuesday’s game.

–Field Level Media

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