I didn’t sense a whole lot of enthusiasm on this blog over manager Buck Showalter’s announcement that Jake Arrieta would start tonight’s series-opener in Detroit.
Arrieta lasted only four starts this season before being optioned for the first time. His last two starts at Triple-A Norfolk were bad. But it makes sense to give him the ball.
Jason Hammel isn’t ready to pitch tonight after wrestling with a stomach virus the past few days. It weakened him. It made him wonder why his young son chose nausea over a card for Father’s Day.
Hammel is being pushed back to Tuesday, but only if he’s at full strength. If not, the Orioles will need another starter.
May as well give Arrieta the start tonight. If Hammel can’t go on Tuesday, the Orioles could option Arrieta and recall left-hander Zach Britton, who’s allowed two earned runs or fewer in his last five outings at Norfolk.
It would have been more complicated if the Orioles had recalled Britton for tonight’s start and still needed a starter for Tuesday. Arrieta, if sent down, wouldn’t have been eligible to return. Same goes for Kevin Gausman. Anyone who’s optioned can’t be recalled for 10 days unless he’s replacing an injured player.
Hammel doesn’t qualify as injured. Just queasy.
The rotation is a riddle right now, which isn’t a novelty in Baltimore. Could be Hammel on Tuesday. Could be Britton. Miguel Gonzalez could be in California with his wife this week, welcoming their new baby into the world, which could create a reunion between the Orioles and Gausman, who’s scheduled to start Tuesday for Norfolk.
This isn’t an ideal arrangement with the Orioles in Detroit and the Tigers starting Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and Rick Porcello, who are a combined 21-7. But it’s the latest hand dealt Showalter, and he’s not looking for sympathy.
I’ve had fans suggest that Arrieta has run out of chances, or that tonight’s start should be his final chance. He’s got minor league options. There’s no reason to present a do-or-cut scenario with him. He’s not taking up valuable space in the organization. The stuff is there. Let the coaches continue to work with him.
The current Tigers are a combined 7-for-36 (.194) against Arrieta, with no home runs, one RBIs and 10 strikeouts.
Adam Jones is 8-for-15 with two doubles and a home run against Scherzer, who’s 9-0 with a 3.19 ERA this season. Chris Davis and Matt Wieters are each 5-for-14.