For the second-straight night, Baltimore Orioles fans will see a new face take the mound against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Mike Elias and the Baltimore Orioles are trying to find anyone semi-coherent enough to get them through the 2019 season, a process that hasn’t been very successful, thus far. Tonight, against the Tampa Bay Rays, the Orioles will turn the ball over to a “new” face in Asher Wojciechowski, referred to as “Woj” from here on out.
Woj was acquired by Baltimore on Monday afternoon from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for cash considerations. He spent a majority of the 2018 season with the Orioles, pitching in AAA for the Norfolk Tides (5-4, 3.51 ERA, 1.18 WHIP). Like Monday’s starter, Tom Eshelman, Mike Elias is familiar with Woj, who also pitched in the Astros’ organization during Elias’ tenure.
Eshelman’s major league debut went fairly well last night against the Rays, giving up two earned runs on six hits across five innings. He walked just one batter, but failed to strike out a single hitter. Eshelman has never been much of a strikeout pitcher, but has successfully limited walks across his minor league career, a trait he brought with him to the mound last night in his debut in a major league uniform.
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It’s fair to say after last night’s performance that Eshelman will get more opportunities to start games for the Orioles. It doesn’t take much to look impressive on the mound in an O’s uniform and Eshelman passed his first test. He didn’t look like an overmatched minor league pitcher, something that can’t be said about most other arms who have appeared on the bump for the Orioles.
Tonight, another new face takes the mound in Asher Wojciechowski. Woj put up solid numbers with the Tides last season, striking out nearly 9.5 hitters per game and holding opponents to a .216 average across 84.2 innings of work.
This season with the Columbus Clippers (Indians AAA affiliate), Woj recorded an 8-2 record and 3.61 ERA. His strikeouts have dropped to under 9/9 IP, his walk rate has remained well over 3/9 IP, and his groundball rate has continued to drop recently. However, the 30-year-old righty has been around the AAA/MLB level since 2013 with the Astros, White Sox, Orioles, Marlins, Reds, and Indians. With literally no one else available in the upper minors (except for maybe Marcos Molina who is currently with the Bowie Baysox), the O’s need arms and Elias is hoping a few familiar faces can help out.
First pitch for tonight’s game is scheduled for 7:05 pm. The Baltimore Orioles will look to get back into the win column against Charlie Morton who is 8-2 with a 2.43 ERA this season.