The Orioles are playing a split-admission doubleheader today against the Los Angeles Dodgers, something that did not happen in the 1966 World Series. They weren't trying to be nostalgic.
Doubleheaders can challenge even the best pitching staffs, and the Orioles' starters haven't been getting deep into games. Last night's postponement provided rest for the bullpen, but manager Buck Showalter needs Jason Hammel to give him innings this afternoon. Otherwise, the burden really falls upon Game 2 starter Wei-Yin Chen.
The Dodgers aren't a familiar opponent, but Hammel has faced them nine times. He's 2-4 with a 5.63 ERA and three quality starts. He's been tagged with the loss in his last four outings against them, including three starts.
Andre Ethier is 8-for-23 (.348) with a home run and six RBIs against Hammel. Former Orioles catcher Ramon Hernandez is 9-for-19 (.474) with four RBIs.
Adrian Gonzalez is 6-for-29 (.207) with a home run.
The Dodgers acquired Hernandez from the Rockies on April 6 for pitcher Aaron Harang and cash. The Orioles had no interest in bringing him back into the organization.
Jerry Hairston is back at Camden Yards. He ranks as one of my all-time favorites on the beat.
The Orioles and Dodgers conclude the series on Sunday with Jake Arrieta opposing Chad Billingsley. Then, the Toronto Blue Jays arrive in Baltimore for three games, and the Orioles will need to decide on a starter for Wednesday. Chris Tillman and Miguel Gonzalez would be on regular rest Monday and Tuesday, respectively. Manager Buck Showalter doesn't figure to bring back Hammel or Chen on short rest.
Does Brian Matusz leave the bullpen and make a start? Does Tommy Hunter? Rule 5 pick T.J. McFarland? Does it just depend on which one isn't needed in relief early next week?
Otherwise, the Orioles will need to bring up a starter from Triple-A Norfolk. Steve Johnson won't be ready. He's going on an injury rehab assignment.
Please don't suggest Double-A Bowie's Kevin Gausman. That's not happening.
Norfolk left-hander Zach Britton, who's allowed one earned run in each of his last two starts, would be working on an extra days' rest. He's on the 40-man roster, which simplifies matters.
Josh Stinson, who's also on the 40-man, would have been on normal rest, but the Tides are playing a doubleheader today after being rained out last night.
What would you do?