ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Orioles manager Buck Showalter had another early wake-up call this morning to catch his flight from Dallas to Tampa following the birth of his first grandchild.
Daughter Allie had a boy, Winston, who weighed 9 pounds, 1 ounce.
“I had to fight emotions a lot,” Showalter said. “I remember holding my daughter like that. I was afraid I was going to drop it.”
Showalter wasn’t going to drop his guard in front of the media. He wasn’t going to get emotional as he sat in the visiting dugout at Tropicana Field. Humor always helps.
“Her epidural and stuff was starting to wear off,” he said, “so that was a good time for me to leave.”
Bench coach John Russell replaced Showalter in a 6-3 loss to the Indians. Of course, Showalter kept track of the game.
“What do you think?” he said. “I got in trouble a couple times. We have cable in Dallas. We have MASN.”
Showalter has his primary setup man with Darren O’Day’s return from the disabled list.
“Darren’s active and available. We haven’t been able to say that for a while,” Showalter said. “I just hope it’s the start of some good consistent health for him. It would mean a lot for our club.”
“You have to manage today’s game and tomorrow’s game and the next day,” Showalter said. “Having one more guy down there who’s used to pitching in the heat of fire with a close game in the late innings, but it also allows you to use some of them earlier in the game.
“Regardless of how good that could be again, we’re going to have to get better consistent starts. We all know that. It doesn’t really matter if you can’t get to them.”
The Orioles optioned reliever Gabriel Ynoa last night after he covered the final 2 1/3 innings. They want him to get back on a starter’s schedule at Norfolk, but that’s a small part of their motivation.
“What it came down to was there wasn’t a real separator for the three guys that you’re talking about who were in that mix,” Showalter said. “Sometimes, the separator is who can pitch today. (Miguel) Castro can pitch today, (Richard) Bleier can pitch today, (Alec) Asher can pitch today and Ynoa couldn’t pitch today or tomorrow probably, so it came down to that a little bit.
“If he had pitched a little better and had a little more time off, it would have been a different story.”
Ryan Flaherty is enjoying time spent with his teammates this weekend after escaping Sarasota rehab for a few days.
“I think it’s for his benefit as much as anybody,” Showalter said. “He’s frustrated. This is really what, we kind of knew it was going to take a while. Keep cautioning him that if you get too fast and you push too much, you’re talking about some real issues. We can get this right if he’ll just stay with us.
“One thing I like about it is that it exposed to a lot of people how valuable a guy he is and was for us. Everybody wants to talk about Zach (Britton) and Darren and whoever, but not having Ryan’s been a challenge for us.”
The Orioles are trying to win for only the fifth time in 16 games. Should the manager change things up or try to stay consistent?
“Both,” Showalter replied. “What’s the definition of insanity? We’ve changed some things up here and there. But also, there’s such a fine line you walk between that and then it being taken as lack of confidence in some things that they’ve done and been real successful at. But there are some little things that change here and there.”
Batting practice was optional today after the Orioles arrived from Baltimore at 4 a.m.
“More’s not always better,” Showalter said, “and less isn’t always better.”
Update: Ubaldo Jiménez threw 36 pitches in the first inning and allowed four runs, leaving the Orioles one shy of tying the 1924 Phillies for most consecutive games surrendering five runs or more. The record is 20, in case anyone missed it.
Evan Longoria had a two-run single after Jiménez walked the first two batters. Longoria scored on Logan Morrison’s triple, and Morrison came home on Shane Peterson’s grounder to first.
Jiménez walked three batters in the inning.
Update II: The Orioles scored twice in the top of the second inning on consecutive singles by Mark Trumbo, Jonathan Schoop and Trey Mancini, and Welington Castillo’s double play ball, but the Rays took a 5-2 lead in the bottom half on Evan Longoria’s sacrifice fly.
The Orioles and 1924 Phillies share the record.
Derek Norris led off the inning with a double and scored on the fly ball. Jiménez threw 12 pitches to increase his total to 48.
Update III: Peterson and Derek Norris hit two-run homers in the third inning to give Tampa Bay a 9-2 lead.
Jiménez allowed nine runs and seven hits in 2 1/3 innings, his shortest start since July 8, 2016 against the Angels. His ERA jumped from 6.25 to 7.26 in 65 2/3 innings.
Update IV: Schoop’s 22nd double of the season scored Adam Jones and Trumbo in the fourth and reduced the lead to 9-4.
Update V: The Rays sent nine batters to the plate in the fifth, scored five runs and tallied only one hit. The Orioles walked three batters and committed two errors - back-to-back miscues by Mancini and Rubén Tejada.
Update VI: Mancini doubled off Archer in the sixth to score Jones and reduce the lead to 14-5.
Update VII: Logan Morrison homered off Castro in the seventh to give the Rays a 15-5 lead.