The Orioles have expanded their roster to 34 players, including 16 pitchers. They can bring up more this month. Guys have gathered in Sarasota to work out and wait for a call.
And yet, manager Buck Showalter felt short-handed last night while trying to protect a one-run lead against the Yankees.
That’s a pretty neat trick in September.
Showalter isn’t going to broadcast injuries and alert the opposing manager, but he told reporters after a 7-5 loss that the Orioles had “a couple of pieces missing in our bullpen tonight, which was a challenge for us.”
Darren O’Day has pitched twice since Aug. 28, most recently on Saturday. He warmed up during another game without being used.
I’m hearing that O’Day has a tingling sensation in some fingers on his pitching hand, which most likely is originating from his elbow. It may be a day-to-day situation, but it’s removing an integral part of last year’s bullpen.
O’Day has been challenged against left-handed hitters this season. They’re batting .316 against him. Perhaps it’s a health issue. Whatever the reason, it’s forced Showalter to consider matchups more than he did in 2012, when O’Day was every day down the stretch.
Tommy Hunter didn’t pitch last night. Showalter usually tries to avoid using him on back-to-back nights, which pretty much eliminates him from consideration as a full-time closer if the Orioles ever decided to make a change.
Hunter has pitched in consecutive games eight times this season, including a stretch of three games in a row on Aug. 17-19. He’s been used in five this month - Sept. 1, 2, 5, 7 and 9. Showalter clearly wanted to lay off him last night. Otherwise, he would have been called upon in the eighth.
Troy Patton has pitched once since Aug. 31, striking out both batters that he faced on Sunday. What’s up with that?
Maybe some answers are coming later today.
Brian Matusz had pitched once since Aug. 29 - throwing an inning on Sept. 2 - before replacing Josh Stinson in the ninth last night. He’s healthy. He’s just not being used much.
Perhaps the Orioles need to bring up another pitcher and take advantage of the expanded roster. There’s no excuse for being caught short in September.