Baltimore Orioles’ rookie right-hander Mike Wright entered the nightcap of yesterday’s twinbill with the Chicago White Sox with a 0.00 ERA and 14.1 straight scoreless innings to start his career.
That flawless earned run average lasted all of one batter.
Adam Eaton took Wright deep leading off the game, and the scoreless streak was over. Wright did not make a terrible pitch to Eaton, but the White Sox centerfielder was just able to sneak a tailing fastball over the wall in left. Wright allowed a single to Jose Abreu later in the inning, and it was clear that he was going to have to battle for a win in this game.
After the Orioles took a 2-1 lead in the second inning, Wright was back in hot water in the third. Melky Cabrera singled sharply to left. The next batter, Adam LaRoche got a high slider and deposited it onto Eutaw Street. Wright’s slider was up, and a veteran power hitter like LaRoche knew what to do with it.
Luckily for Wright, the Orioles came right back in the bottom half of the inning with a three-spot that gave them a 4-3 lead. The Orioles ultimately would not relinquish that lead en route to a 6-3 win and a split of the double-header.
Wright made it five innings, clearly battling without his best stuff. He gave way to the bullpen having allowed three runs on six hits in 5.0 innings. Wright struck out two and walked none.
In what was clearly the worst start of the young career for Mike Wright, there are still reasons to be impressed with the rookie. Wright was pitching with men on base in nearly every inning, but did not let the score get out of hand. Even though he did not have his best stuff on the mound, he kept the game close and put the Orioles in position to win.
There will no doubt be growing pains should the Orioles keep Wright in their rotation the rest of the year, and there will be starts worse than this one. Time will tell if the Orioles will commit to Wright in the rotation over Bud Norris when Norris returns to health. Yesterday, though, Wright continued to make his case, despite scuffling a bit. In a start that on more than one occasion could have unraveled quickly, Wright was able to keep his composure and stop the bleeding, earning his second Major League win in the process.
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