Major League Baseball

O’s seek first back-to-back wins since early May

mlb1INDIANS (44-37) AT ORIOLES (23-58)
4:05 p.m. ET; MASN2, ST-OH, MLB.TV

The Baltimore Orioles have struggled so much this season, they haven’t won back-to-back games since May 4-6. They’ll try to end that long dry spell on Saturday against the visiting Cleveland Indians.

The Orioles are coming off a 13-0 rout of the Indians on Friday night. That was Baltimore’s second shutout of the season — and the Orioles used four pitchers to get it, led by starter John Means, who became the club’s second seven-game winner. The team now sits at 23-58 at the halfway point of the season.

That is the same record Baltimore owned through 81 games last season, a season in which Orioles finished 47-115. While many may attribute the struggles to Baltimore focusing on developing young players, manager Brandon Hyde told the media Friday that’s not how he’s looking at this season.

“Right now in our situation, it’s about playing the game the right way,” he said. “It’s about giving guys opportunities. It’s about trying to win every single night, and we just haven’t done that very well.”

Andrew Cashner (7-3, 4.37 ERA) starts for the Orioles on Saturday against fellow right-hander Zach Plesac (3-2, 2.33).

Cashner has received plenty of offensive support this season, but he also pitched effectively. On the flip side, the veteran is 0-3 with an 8.44 ERA in three career games against the Indians.

Plesac will be pitching against the Orioles for the first time and is trying for a third consecutive victory.

He’ll be facing a Baltimore team that was swinging well Friday night in the opener of the three-game weekend series, particularly Chance Sisco and Anthony Santander (home run each, nine combined RBIs).

Sisco had five of the RBIs and would have had more if he had not been robbed of a second homer by Cleveland center fielder Oscar Mercado in the fourth. Mercado made a leaping catch at the fence.

The Indians, who did little on offense in Friday’s loss, will try to get well against Cashner. Even with the loss Friday, Cleveland had been playing well of late with seven wins in the past 10 games to remain within shouting distance of the Minnesota Twins in the American League Central.

Cleveland got some good news regarding injuries Friday, as well, as pitcher Corey Kluber was cleared to begin throwing up to 60 feet. He’s been out since May 1 after breaking his right forearm when a line drive hit him.

“He seemed pretty excited to get going,” manager Terry Francona said. “He’s basically got to start over again … but the fact that he’s throwing, the fact that (the bone) is healing so well, it was really good news.”

Also, the Indians placed third baseman Jose Ramirez on the paternity list on Friday and called up infielder Yu Chang. The 23-year-old Taiwan native made his major league debut in the blowout loss and went 0-for-3 while batting eighth.

Mike Clevinger was activated from the injured list to start in Friday’s game (sprained ankle) but lasted just 1 2/3 innings and took the loss. The Indians sent down relief pitcher Jon Edwards to make room for Clevinger.

Cleveland took three of four in its mid-May series at home against the Orioles.

–Field Level Media

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