I had to “sleep fast,” as manager Buck Showalter always says.
These West Coast games are exhausting, even when you’re not on the trip.
The Orioles have another 10:07 p.m. start tonight in Oakland - no one rounds off these times anymore - and we’ll find out later today whether a roster move is made.
Double-A Bowie left-hander Pedro Viola was rushed to Oakland, and that decision was made before Alfredo Simon threw 55 pitches and took the loss last night and Michael Gonzalez followed with 41 in 1 2/3 innings.
Gonzalez has surrendered six home runs in 17 1/3 innings. He’s given up runs in seven of his last eight outings, including an unearned run on May 18, and he’s carrying a 7.79 ERA that casts a large shadow over the league-average of 3.80 for relievers.
I’ve been asked whether the Orioles would designate him for assignment. It would be a bold move two months into the season considering that Gonzalez is being paid $6 million in 2011. I wondered whether Viola was flying to Oakland because Gonzalez was headed for the disabled list, but that idea faded as soon as Gonzalez began to warm up in the bullpen.
Gonzalez tossed a perfect inning in his previous outing, striking out the last Kansas City batter with a 94 mph fastball, but the old issues cropped up last night.
Brad Bergesen can’t have the same thing happen to him with Brian Matusz set to return to the rotation after last night’s injury rehab start at Triple-A Norfolk. Bergesen shut out Tampa Bay on four hits in a May 14 start at Tropicana Field, but he gave up eight runs in 3 1/3 innings against the Yankees five days later.
Bergesen is pitching on extended rest, having been skipped in the Kansas City series, and we’ll see whether it helps or hurts him. He needs that fastball to sink and he needs to cut down on the baserunners.
Bergesen has allowed five runs or more in three of his last six starts, and he’s operating tonight without Simon as a long man in the bullpen. Simon inherited that role from Jason Berken, who’s currently in Norfolk’s rotation.
In his only previous start against the Athletics, Bergesen allowed four runs and four hits over seven innings. Josh Willingham, who homered off Gonzalez last night, is 5-for-10 with a homer lifetime against Bergesen. David DeJesus is 4-for-8.
I’d expect the Orioles’ lineup to look very similar to the one Showalter posted last night, considering that Oakland is starting another left-hander. Perhaps Luke Scott replaces Jake Fox at first base.
Showalter told reporters last night that Derrek Lee will begin baseball-related activities Monday in Sarasota. Lee is eligible to come off the disabled list Wednesday, but that seems highly unlikely if he’s being held back this long.
Update: It looks like the Orioles will wait until tomorrow before making a roster move, though things change quickly in this business. If a pitcher isn’t headed to the disabled list, they could use Viola to take Bergesen’s place on the roster (or Chris Tillman’s) before activating Brian Matusz from the disabled list on Wednesday. Either way, I’m told that Viola is more likely to be added to the 25-man roster tomorrow, which suggests that his arrival is tied to some rotation maneuvering.