More banter about the bullpen and tonight’s game

The Orioles will open a three-game series tonight in Minnesota, where they only have to worry about frostbite and a smoldering bullpen.

They didn’t have enough pitching to make it to Target Field without another roster move. Not a chance. And Evan Meek was the most vulnerable reliever, which is why he’s headed to Triple-A Norfolk.

Early this morning, I tossed out some possible names to join the Orioles - Preston Guilmet, Suk-min Yoon and Tim Berry. Kevin Gausman was the obvious choice until being diagnosed with an intercostal strain, which didn’t surface until yesterday.

Guilmet isn’t the type of guy who’s going to provide length in the bullpen, since he’s been closing at Norfolk, but he’s allowed only two runs in 10 innings, with one walk and 12 strikeouts.

The Orioles acquired Guilmet, 26, from the Indians on April 7 for minor league outfielder Torsten Boss. He registered a 2.57 ERA and 90 saves in 196 games (15 starts) over five minor league seasons in the Cleveland system, striking out 9.8 batters and walking 1.9 per nine innings.

Last year, Guilmet posted a 1.68 ERA over 64 1/3 innings, recorded 20 saves and struck out 10.1 batters per nine innings in 49 games with Triple-A Columbus.

Showalter is still working on how to pronounce his name.

Yoon tossed five shutout innings on Tuesday and is getting better results, with one earned run allowed in his last three starts over 15 2/3 innings, but I could tell from Showalter’s facial expressions when I asked about him a few days ago that the club believes he needs more work in the minors.

Meanwhile, Meek will join Josh Stinson in the Tides’ bullpen.

It’s easy to root for a guy like Meek, who turned into a nice comeback story in Sarasota and brings a lot of personality to the table. He allowed one run and two hits, walked none and struck out 10 in nine spring innings to beat out Alfredo Aceves for the last bullpen spot, and didn’t permit a run in his first nine regular season appearances. However, he gave up nine runs and 10 hits in 2 1/3 innings over his last four games.

The decision to option him following Game 2 didn’t come as a surprise.

I speculated heavily a few days ago that Stinson would be removed to create room for left-hander Troy Patton. I foolishly thought he’d have to be designated for assignment, since he was out of options. However, the Orioles placed him on waivers, he passed through and they outrighted him to Norfolk.

Stinson was struggling this year, allowing nine runs and 16 hits in 11 1/3 innings, with six walks and six strikeouts. But let’s not forget how he allowed one earned run in 11 1/3 innings over 10 second-half relief appearances last season. And how he didn’t allow an earned run and struck out 13 in nine Grapefruit League innings.

The guy’s been good and I have little doubt that he’s going to work his way back to Baltimore later this summer.

Ubaldo Jimenez makes the start tonight in Minnesota. Better yet, he’s not making it in April.

Jimenez owns a career 3.89 ERA in 34 starts in May. He’s 3-3 with a 2.90 ERA in six career starts against the Twins, with 42 strikeouts in 40 1/3 innings, and 3-1 with a 2.63 ERA at Target Field.

Twins starter Ricky Nolasco has a career 4.95 ERA in May, the highest for any month. He’s 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA in three career starts versus the Orioles, with two walks and 17 strikeouts in 21 innings.

Delmon Young is 2-for-6 with two doubles off Nolasco. Matt Wieters is 2-for-5.

Nick Markakis has now hit safely in nine straight games, batting .361 (13-for-36) with a double, two home runs, six RBIs, six walks and eight runs scored.

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