Jake Arrieta is expected to be the first Orioles pitcher shut down this month. Maybe he gets one more start after tonight. Probably two at the most. Manager Buck Showalter doesn’t have firm dates to pass along.
Showalter refers to it as “a moving target.”
“I think we’re getting closer every time he pitches,” Showalter said. “We’ll see how he pitches and how many innings he pitches, in that order. He’s got a tough task there with Toronto.”
Brian Matusz’s status after being hit on the left triceps last night won’t influence Showalter’s decision with Arrieta.
By the way, Showalter said he probably would have kept Matusz on the mound last night if the Orioles were a half-game out of first place.
Showalter, like many of us, considered the possibility that Jason Frasor hit Brian Roberts intentionally last night after a Jim Johnson pitch came close to Jose Bautista’s head.
“Every time our guys get hit, I think about it. Yeah, you consider it,” Showalter said.
Three Orioles were hit last night, including Jake Fox and Adam Jones. Fox was grazed on the foot. Jones was nailed with the bases loaded, forcing in a run. No way that one was intentional.
“When you’re managing a club, you have to have a grip on reality and don’t let your emotions go overboard,” Showalter said. “Don’t always hold me to that.”
Showalter said he understands what he’d be feeling in the other dugout if “one of my best hitters got a ball up and in.”
“I also know what I feel like when Brian got hit,” he said. “I do look at those things after the game and I do put myself in the other team’s shoes.
“I know Frasor’s got great command. And the flipside of that, I think J.J.’s got good command. So you take a lot of things into consideration. But you also try not to get your emotions ahead of your brain. Sometimes, that’s tough for players, but it shouldn’t be tough for coaches and managers. Just because somebody else chooses to do it differently...but there’s a time and place for both those things. But you’ve got to know your people.”
Here’s a random fact: Roberts has hit the Orioles’ most recent leadoff home run (last night) and walk-off homer (Aug. 9 vs. Chicago).
Nick Markakis has hit safely in nine straight games, batting .368, but he’s totaled only one extra-base hit in that span - a home run in his first at-bat to start the streak.