I didn't plan on writing about Pedro Strop this morning as yesterday's game moved past the middle innings. But then, you know, stuff happened.
I was surprised that starter Jason Hammel returned for the seventh inning. My ears were ringing from all the loud outs. It was a gutsy performance on a day when Hammel's command wavered, and I thought that trying to squeeze one more inning out of him was risky.
However, it was clear that manager Buck Showalter wanted to avoid using a few of his relievers, and getting Hammel through the seventh would have better accomplished that goal.
It seems apparent that he wanted to rest Darren O'Day. And with Kevin Gausman starting tonight, he needs a long man in the bullpen. Just in case.
As for the suggestion that Showalter should use Strop exclusively in non-pressure situations, what happens if games are tight for a solid week or more? Play with a 24-man roster? Blow out a few arms while covering for Strop? It doesn't work.
The Orioles would be better served designating Strop for assignment and bringing up another reliever. Or hey, maybe his back is aching again. But if he's in the bullpen, he's got to be used at times with the game on the line.
I don't understand why Strop was activated so quickly. He could have gone on a 30-day injury rehab assignment, which I fully anticipated. Let him work out his issues at Triple-A Norfolk. Turn Rick Peterson loose on him. And Mike Griffin. And Scott McGregor. And Dave Schmidt. Dog pile on the reliever.
If Strop's confidence was shaken before he went on the DL, what condition is it in after he was practically booed off the mound yesterday? If he seemed lost before, does he need to wear a GPS around his neck like Flavor Flav's clock?
Yeah, this may shock some fans, but tearing into Strop during the game like a pit bull on a pork roast isn't going to magically snap him out of his funk. Just saying...
The Orioles are being burned again by their lack of flexibility in the bullpen. As I've reminded you, O'Day and Brian Matusz are the only relievers with minor league options. Jake Arrieta would be a nice addition if he were mowing down hitters in Norfolk. He could give you length or bring the heat for an inning later in games. And he could be sent down without the whole waiver process.
Showalter needs more moveable parts in his bullpen and he needs relievers who can be trusted with the game on the line.
I'm not sure how Strop fits here.
I'm not sure how much longer the Orioles can go along as if he does.