Hendrickson and the Orioles continue a seven-game homestand Tuesday when they open a two-game set against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Signed as a free agent by Baltimore (13-19) in January, Hendrickson (1-4, 5.13 ERA) was solid in his Orioles debut April 10 against the Rays, allowing one run in 5 1-3 innings of a 5-4 victory. He lost his next four starts, posting a 7.00 ERA in those outings.
The left-hander showed signs that he was breaking out of that slump Wednesday against the Twins, retiring nine of his first 10 batters before a rain delay forced him to depart after three scoreless innings. The game was called in the sixth with Baltimore getting a 4-1 win.
“After the first delay I felt pretty good coming back out, but the second one was just too long,” Hendrickson said. “So I had to turn it over to the bullpen, and we got a win here tonight. So that’s good.”
Hendrickson will try to help the Orioles bounce back after dropping two of three against New York over the weekend. He’s 3-4 with a 4.57 ERA against the Rays.
The Orioles bullpen continued to struggle in Sunday’s 5-3 defeat to the Yankees, as Jamie Walker(notes) and Jim Johnson(notes) gave up four runs in the seventh. Baltimore relievers have a 5.43 ERA this season.
“We knew it was going to be a nine-inning game,” manager Dave Trembley told the team’s official Web site. “The game wasn’t going to be decided in the first inning.”
The Orioles lost 15 of 18 against Tampa Bay last season and dropped the final 12 meetings. They’ve won three of the first five matchups this season, though.
The Rays (15-18) lost two of three in Boston over the weekend, falling 4-3 in Sunday’s finale. The Rays had runners at first and third with no outs in the ninth, but Carlos Pena(notes), B.J. Upton(notes) and Carl Crawford(notes) struck out against Jonathan Papelbon(notes).
Tampa Bay will hand the ball to Andy Sonnanstine(notes) (1-3, 5.79), who is coming off his strongest start of the season. The right-hander pitched a season-high 7 1-3 innings against the Yankees on Wednesday, allowing two runs and six hits in a 4-3, 10-inning win.
Sonnanstine is 2-3 with a 7.11 ERA in six starts versus the Orioles. He faced Hendrickson on April 10 and went 4 2-3 innings, allowing five runs, eight hits and four walks in the loss.
“Hopefully I can build off my last couple of starts and I can attack the zone and be aggressive,” Sonnanstine told the Rays’ official Web site.
The Orioles are likely to be without designated hitter Luke Scott(notes), who injured his shoulder Sunday. Scott, who was wearing a sling and underwent an MRI on Monday, is hitting .303 with five homers and 15 RBIs in 29 games.
“I kind of had my weight on my left arm. It hurt to the point where I can’t swing a bat,” he said.