The Orioles planned on sending down a reliever and bringing up an infielder once third baseman Manny Machado began serving his suspension. However, the rotation has produced one quality start in the last seven games, taxing a bullpen that may not be able to handle a subtraction.
“The timing is never good, especially with some of the pending things, because you’d like to do some things with an infielder, but where we are with the bullpen is going to make that hard to do,” manager Buck Showalter said following today’s 12-7 loss to the Rays at Camden Yards.
“I haven’t talked to Dan (Duquette) yet. I know we won’t err on the side of not having somebody here. I had three guys today I was not going to use and I was not going to get Ryan (Webb) up again.”
Starter Miguel Gonzalez lasted only 4 2/3 innings, allowing three runs and eight hits and walking four batters. He’s failed to get into the sixth inning in all three starts since coming off the disabled list.
“Really as a group today - Miguel obviously, too - leaving too many pitches elevated,” Showalter said. “I was looking at some of them. Just a lot of elevated pitches. There’s such a fine line. He’s trying to go down away and goes middle up and your missing height and location as far as in or out. He wasn’t the only one. That’s for sure. That’s something he’s been very good at for the most part.”
Another short start creates a ripple effect with the bullpen, which needed Brian Matusz to throw 47 pitches over 2 1/3 innings today. Matusz was charged with five runs and seven hits.
“Well, it affects a lot today,” Showalter said. “I had Ryan up in case Brian happened to walk that guy, I would have taken a pop with him there. But we ran out of bullets. You can’t keep running the same people out there night after night, and our starters know that and they take it very personal. It’s just, weren’t able to execute well enough to get done what they wanted to get done. But it’s a domino effect on a lot of different things.
“Plus, when you’ve played basically three day games in a row and you’ve got teams standing around on the field for that long, it affects a lot of people. It’s not just the pitchers, the starters. There’s some other things.
“Times like this, you’d like to come out with a W when you score seven runs.”
Showalter added that if the Orioles are able to present themselves well win Monday night’s series opener against the Rangers, “a lot will have to do with that last inning that Brian sucked up today.”
Matusz served up two home runs and gave up some big hits to left-handed hitters.
“Same thing we were talking about earlier. He elevated some breaking balls and he paid the price for it,” Showalter said. “Fastball a little up, major league hitters hit that pitch real well. I don’t care how hard you throw. Everybody up there, hitters, has a weakness and if you can’t exploit it with command, you’re going to have some problems like we had today.
“I’m not going to bring Zach (Britton) into that game. All our guys know that’s the corner you paint yourself into when you have those types of challenges. Not the first time, won’t be the last time. It happened in 2012, it happened in 2013. We’ve just got to work our way out of it. A couple of good starts and we’ll be back on our feet.”
The nine earned runs allowed by the Orioles bullpen is the most since it gave up 12 on July 16, 2012 in Minnesota.
Tampa Bay’s 11 extra-base hits are the most by an Orioles’ opponent since the Tigers on Sept. 15, 2006. It’s the seventh time in club history they’ve permitted 11 or more in a game. The club record is 12, most recently on Sept. 14, 1987 vs. Toronto.
The Orioles are 13-17 in day games, including 4-10 at home. They’re 13-13 in series finales and 5-8 in the last game of a home series.
Before Tommy Hunter today, the last Oriole to record three outs in an inning on three pitches was John Parrish on Sept. 27, 2003 at Yankee Stadium (per Elias).
Chris Davis’ sacrifice bunt in the second inning was the first of his career. He went 661 games without one.