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Straily chased early as difficulties continue

@JoeTrezz
May 3, 2019

BALTIMORE -- When the Orioles made a rare early-April dip into the free agent market for Dan Straily, the move was twofold. They hoped signing the veteran right-hander would help stabilize an incomplete rotation while easing the burden on one of the most taxed and volatile bullpens in baseball. And

BALTIMORE -- When the Orioles made a rare early-April dip into the free agent market for Dan Straily, the move was twofold. They hoped signing the veteran right-hander would help stabilize an incomplete rotation while easing the burden on one of the most taxed and volatile bullpens in baseball.

And perhaps, in time, it will. But Straily’s his first month in Baltimore has been defined by early exits, full of what Straily called “some frustrating days, for sure.”

That trend continued when Straily was lifted in the fifth inning of Friday’s 7-0 loss to Tampa Bay, the righty’s third abbreviated start since joining the rotation last month. The five runs he surrendered went a long way toward the Orioles dropping the opener of a three-game set against the first-place Rays, inflating Straily’s ERA to 7.43 on the season.

Box Score

Though that number is bloated by a nightmare relief appearance in his team debut, Straily has nonetheless struggled in several areas, notably pitching deep into games. Known as a valuable innings-eater earlier in his career with the Reds and Marlins, Straily has only completed five frames in two of his five starts so far in Baltimore, not eclipsing that mark in any. He’s averaging just over four innings pitched and 84 pitches per start this season, making Friday’s 84-pitch outing a near-perfect microcosm of his year to this point.

“I’m definitely not putting up the numbers that I’m used to up there in terms of innings for my team,” Straily said. “That’s something I need to turn around here really quickly.”

It didn’t help that his opponent Friday was nearly perfect, period. The Orioles mustered just three hits against Rays’ righty Tyler Glasnow, who defended his AL Pitcher of the Month honor by opening May with seven shutout innings. Tommy Pham's RBI double gave Glasnow all the support he’d need two batters into the game, and Mike Zunino added a three-run homer in the fourth, the eighth Straily has allowed over 23 innings this season. Glasnow became the Majors’ first six-game winner and lowered his ERA to an AL-best 1.47.

Asked if Glasnow was as dominant as any pitcher the Orioles have seen this season, Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde said “maybe in a while.”

“That was electric stuff. Really, really good,” Hyde said. “Tonight he had all three [pitches] going, was throwing all three in any count he wanted. On a night like that, you have to tip your hat to a really, really good pitcher who had his stuff. I liked his presence and how he attacks guys. The whole package. I haven’t seen many like that in a long time.”

But for Straily, the evening continued what’s been, in many ways, one of the more disjointed seasons of his career. A fixture in the Marlins rotation before the club released him in the final week of Spring Training, Straily instead had to wait until April 7 to make his season debut, then did so with his sixth different team in a span of six seasons. The start is the worst Straily’s gotten off to since his rookie year with Oakland in 2013, the righty pitching at career-worst rates nearly across the board. Orioles starters own a collective 5.72 ERA, third-highest among MLB clubs.

“I have to get quicker outs, be more around the zone. There are some wasted pitches ... that are few and far between but add up over the course of an outing,” Straily said. “I just really have to hone in on each and every single pitch and put it all together, get a complete game out of me.”

Joe Trezza covers the Orioles for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JoeTrezz.