Major League Baseball

Orioles’ Eshelman draws hometown start in San Diego

ORIOLES (35-71) AT PADRES (50-56)
3:40 p.m. ET; FSSD, MASSN2, MLB.TV

There were some friends of Baltimore Orioles rookie Tom Eshelman who showed up at Petco Park on Monday evening expecting the Carlsbad, Calif., native to be pitching against the San Diego Padres.

They’ll have to return Tuesday afternoon.

After hinting strongly Sunday afternoon that Eshelman would either start Monday’s game or follow an opener to the mound, Orioles manager Brandon Hyde opted instead to recall David Hess from Triple-A Norfolk to face the Padres in the first game of a two-game interleague series.

Even then, Hyde wavered when it came to discussing Eshelman’s role in the series being played 30 miles south of the right-hander’s hometown. The official pregame announcement Monday said the Orioles would start “opener/Tom Eshelman.”

“Eshelman will start Tuesday,” Hyde later said.

As if to emphasize the point, a pitcher the Orioles have used three times as an opener, right-hander Jimmy Yacabonis, tossed 1 1/3 innings of relief Monday in the Orioles’ 8-1 loss.

“Our pitching is set,” Hyde said.

The pairing will be Eshelman (0-2, 5.79 ERA) against Padres right-hander Dinelson Lamet (0-2, 5.00).

Each will be making his fifth appearance of the season. Neither has ever faced the other team.

Eshelman, 25, has made three starts and one relief appearance for the Orioles, all this month. He has pitched 18 2/3 innings, giving up 16 runs (12 earned) on 21 hits and six walks with 12 strikeouts. He has a .276 opponents’ batting average and a 1.45 WHIP.

Lamet, 27, made 21 starts for San Diego in 2017, going 7-8 with a 4.57 ERA, before missing all of the 2018 season following Tommy John surgery.

“Dinelson is getting there, but he is still getting into form,” Padres manager Andy Green said Monday of the pitcher whom many believed would top San Diego’s 2018 rotation before getting injured in his final spring training outing.

“We like the progress he is making,” Green said of Lamet. “But it is not going to happen overnight. The stuff is there. There’s even a tick more velocity than there was before the surgery. But the command isn’t where it will be. And we’re not surprised or disappointed by that.”

The powerfully built, 6-foot-4 Lamet returned to the Padres’ rotation on July 4 after a shorter-than-anticipated rehab assignment.

In his four major league starts thus far this season, the native of the Dominican Republic has given up 12 runs (10 earned) on 18 hits and seven walks with 25 strikeouts in 18 innings. He has a .250 opponents’ batting average and a 1.39 WHIP.

A major portion of Lamet’s struggles since his return have involved the long ball. He has served up four homers.

Lamet’s forte before and after his surgery was working his devastating slider off his fastball. The combination is what has led to his career strikeout rate of 11.2 whiffs per nine innings.

“In time, he will … add to his pitches,” Green said, “but right now he has the pitches he needs to be successful if his command is sharp.”

–Field Level Media

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