BALTIMORE -- When the Orioles replaced Ubaldo Jimenez with Alec Asher in the starting rotation last Sunday, the team was looking for depth and consistency that Jimenez had yet to bring to the 2017 season. And on Friday against the Red Sox, Asher did just that.With Jimenez only getting past
BALTIMORE -- When the Orioles replaced Ubaldo Jimenez with Alec Asher in the starting rotation last Sunday, the team was looking for depth and consistency that Jimenez had yet to bring to the 2017 season. And on Friday against the Red Sox, Asher did just that.
With Jimenez only getting past the fifth inning in two of his eight starts, Asher gave his team a much-needed quality start in a 3-2 victory over the Red Sox. Asher lasted 6 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on just three hits.
"That's great," Asher said of reaching the seventh inning. "You know, just to give the team a chance to win is my main goal, and when I'm out there, I'm going to try to get guys out for as long as [manager] Buck [Showalter] lets me."
Asher's start was crucial to an Orioles team that had gone 17 straight games in May without a starting pitcher earning a win. Since Dylan Bundy snapped that streak on Monday, O's starters have picked up a win in four of their last five games.
Asher was hot right out of the gate, retiring the first seven batters on just 21 pitches. On his 24th pitch, the righty threw a 91-mph two-seam fastball over the middle of the plate that Pablo Sandoval hit 368 feet over the left-field fence, according to Statcast™, but Asher did not let the home run rattle him. He kept his command and went on to retire the next nine consecutive batters.
"I was really impressed that ... there are little things you look at," Showalter said. "Like after giving up the home run to [Sandoval], he comes right back and gets the next guy out and doesn't walk him. How many times do you see people get fearful of the barrel and get out of the zone after that? Also, [Hanley] Ramirez hit a couple home runs off him last time. That's the thing you like about Asher. He ain't scared. He got right back in the fight and did a big job for us tonight."
"Give credit to Asher," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "We had one baserunner through five innings, and that's [Sandoval's] solo home run. He pitched to all four quadrants of the strike zone. He elevated his fastball to the guys in our lineup where the scouting report is there. He pitched to a scouting report."
After picking up the first out in the seventh inning, Asher exited to a standing ovation from the Camden Yards faithful.
"Awesome," Asher said of the ovation. "That was probably one of the coolest things I've experienced. Just being able to hear the crowd cheer for you is great."
Mandy Bell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Baltimore.