It’s been approximately seven hours since I left Camden Yards, and I’ve just regained the feeling in my hands. Yes, the temperature dipped a little after the first pitch.
The Frozen Four is the college hockey semifinals, but it’s also the toes I have remaining on my left foot.
Anyway, I’m going to assume that Mark Reynolds remains at third base tonight because manager Buck Showalter believes that he’ll start hitting and fielding, and Reynolds already sat out one of the first five games.
Showalter offered a vote of confidence last night after Reynolds committed his second error, this one leading to two unearned runs in the sixth inning, and lost track of a foul pop up. He’s not going to quit on Reynolds this early in the season or start adjusting his lineup.
If that adjustment eventually happens, the Orioles do have options. Showalter has talked about the flexibility of his roster and all the moving pieces. I don’t see Reynolds shifting to first - Showalter isn’t putting Chris Davis at third - but DH is a possibility. Not full-time, since the Orioles won’t clog up that spot with one player, but on a more regular basis. Wilson Betemit and Ryan Flaherty can play third. So can Robert Andino if Flaherty goes to second.
Showalter casually mentioned late in spring training that Reynolds had some difficulties at first last season, though fans and the media didn’t seem to notice.
Reynolds was resistant to being used as a DH last season. He’s not comfortable doing it. But at some point, he may not have a choice.
Of course, he’ll need to start hitting or DH isn’t much of an option, either.
The preference is to have Reynolds’ bat heat up and the hot corner cool down a little for him. He’s hitting .143 with no homers or RBIs, and the improved conditioning and extra time fielding balls hasn’t translated into better play at third since the season started. However, the Orioles are preparing for their sixth game tonight. Showalter doesn’t have to make any drastic decisions on April 11.
Check back later. It could happen if things don’t improve.
For what it’s worth, and I know it’s not much to an angry fan base, Reynolds is taking full responsibility for his mistakes, and nobody feels worse than this guy. That much was evident after last night’s game. He’s fully aware that he has to do better. As Showalter says, the “want-to” is there.
Not sure if you’ve noticed and not sure why I have, but four Orioles relievers have gone 1 1/3 innings in the last two games, including Matt Lindstrom last night. Darren O’Day, Troy Patton and Kevin Gregg did it in succession Monday night.
Showalter used four relievers Monday and five last night. Pedro Strop is the only one to work more than 1 1/3 innings. He totaled two last night and took the loss after permitting a run in the 12th inning.
I’m not going to obsess over the construction of the bullpen every morning, but what would Showalter have done if last night’s game hadn’t ended in the 12th? How many short relievers - and I’m not referring to their height - could have carried it beyond the 13th?
Zach Phillips might have come in handy last night, when the left-handed hitting Brett Gardner stepped to the plate with two outs in the sixth and the Orioles clinging to a 4-3 lead. Matt Lindstrom was ready in the bullpen, but Showalter allowed Wei-Yin Chen to face Gardner, who singled in the tying run.
Left-handers were 2-for-20 against Phillips last season and he was outstanding this spring, but he had an option remaining and was cut on the day that rosters had to be set.
This team also could use a long man. Yes, I’m beating the drum loudly, but the frostbite on my ears has affected my hearing.
The Orioles will try to avoid being swept tonight as the Yankees send left-hander CC Sabathia to the hill. He’s only 16-2 with a 2.74 ERA lifetime against the Orioles, including 10-1 with a 2.73 ERA at Camden Yards, so they have a chance.
Robert Andino is 6-for-15 with a home run against Sabathia. Adam Jones is 11-for-33 with a double, triple, two homers and nine RBIs. Nolan Reimold is 8-for-20 with two doubles and a homer. Betemit is 3-for-5.
Matt Wieters is 2-for-18 with a homer and eight strikeouts.
Staying with my earlier bullpen theme, Triple-A Norfolk relievers Oscar Villarreal, Miguel Socolovich and Pat Neshek combined for 5 2/3 scoreless innings last night in a 7-1 loss to Gwinnett.
Starter Chris George gave up all seven runs, which raised the following question: Chris George is still in the organization?
During one at-bat late in the game, Socolovich was pitching to Gwinnett’s Joey Terdoslavich.
I don’t have anything else to add, except that it was Socolovich vs. Terdoslavich.