Showalter on the bullpen and Castillo catching (O’s lead 8-4)

Orioles manager Buck Showalter wants to wait for Darren O’Day to throw in the bullpen Monday afternoon before talking about the rest of the reliever’s schedule.

Pitching coach Roger McDowell and head athletic trainer Richie Bancells will sit down with O’Day and map out the next steps.

“He’s been down this road a few times, we kind of lean on him,” Showalter said. “He knows when he’s ready and when he’s not, and what’s right and what won’t play up here. But it will be nice to get him and Zach (Britton) back. We’ve had a lot of situations when we weren’t able to stem the tide, so to speak. With one of those guys, we were able to move Mike (Givens) and some of those guys around to get some innings when we’ve got all four of them.

“I was really hoping that somebody would seize the opportunity they’ve been given.”

brad-brach-throwing-front-white.pngBrad Brach retired the side in order in the ninth inning yesterday on 11 pitches to complete the 15-7 victory over the Cardinals. He needed the work after throwing only three pitches Wednesday night in Chicago.

“Brad’s shown, if you get to know a guy like we have over the years, everybody’s different,” Showalter said. “I’ve had some closers who didn’t want to come in and get work. They didn’t care if they had 10 days off. Some guys, two days off. You’ve got to know each one. Zach’s different than Brad.

“Innings are innings at the end of the year. I know where I’d like to have him end up. I know where his safety point is. And sometimes it can’t happen, regardless of how you protect them. But you do fight that. How much is too much rest? But Brad has shown, this year especially, when he gets a little time, you really get a return for it.”

Brach hasn’t allowed a run in his last 10 appearances to lower his ERA to 2.76 in 29 1/3 innings.

“I’m comfortable where we are with him and it’s been a challenge,” Showalter said. “It’s been a challenge with him and Mike. But I refuse to do it. I know what it’s like without Zach and without Darren. Think about it without them if you don’t protect them. So, maybe it looks like I’m overprotective sometimes, but I know what life’s like without them. We don’t win that game yesterday with a lot of situations that came up.”

Showalter relies on the bullpen circle of trust. Relievers must be honest with him about how they’re feeling and what they need in the way of work or rest.

“The things we can control, we’re going to control, with their ups and ins,” Showalter said. “There’s a big difference between ups and ins. But every guy is different. To try to put a net over them and say they’re all the same ... I think Brad’s got a good feel for how he has to pitch when he’s pitching second or third day in a row, as opposed to when he’s had three or four days off.

“I knew going into that game yesterday that I had Brad and Mike for multiple innings. I would have liked for them to be a lot shorter, but Mike did such a great job that we only had to use Brad for one inning.

“Everything’s a byproduct. If we have consistent short starts. Everything’s affected by the job the pitcher in front of him does, whether it’s a starter or a reliever. I know Brad and Darren and Zach really have a feel for it and I think they trust us. Very few times a phone call’s got to be made to tell them what’s going on. They know the situation and how we’re going to use them. But I think it’s one of the biggest challenges for a manager is manipulating and keeping a bullpen healthy and not getting drunk with their success and realizing how fleeting it can be if you don’t take care of it.”

Givens threw a career-high 42 pitches yesterday in 2 1/3 innings and isn’t available today.

“If I know Mike, he’ll probably want to pitch,” Showalter said.

Welington Castillo is in the lineup again today, catching all three games of the series against the Cardinals. Ubaldo Jiménez owns a 6.81 ERA in eight games with Castillo behind the plate and a 3.85 ERA in 48 games with Caleb Joseph. However, Castillo is 6-for-9 with two home runs lifetime versus Lance Lynn.

“We’ve taken him out of the last two games early,” Showalter said. “We talked about it before the series started, see how it went. Casi wants to catch every game. He doesn’t believe in that day game, night game.

“I was thinking the other day, there might be a little competitive ... A lot of people think (Yadier) Molina is one of the best defensive catchers and if you go around the league he’s going to finish real high up there. There’s a competitive pride catchers have when you’re facing your counterpart over there.”

Update: Seth Smith hit his third leadoff home run of the season and the fifth of his career to give the Orioles a 1-0 lead. But Stephen Piscotty homered with two outs in the second inning to tie the game.

Update II: Trey Mancini led off the bottom of the second inning with his 12th home run and Mark Trumbo delivered an RBI single in the third to give the Orioles a 3-1 lead.

Update III: Piscotty homered again in the fourth to cut the lead to 3-2, but Trumbo hit a two-run homer in the fifth, Mancini collected his first career triple, Jonathan Schoop delivered a sacrifice fly and Castillo homered to give the Orioles a 7-2 lead.

Dexter Fowler robbed Schoop with a leaping catch.

Adam Jones tripled with one out.

Update IV: The Orioles increased their lead to 8-2 in the sixth on Machado’s RBI single that scored Smith, who doubled. Smith is a triple short of the cycle.

J.J. Hardy left the game in the sixth with a bruised right wrist. He was hit by a pitch in the fourth.

Update V: Fowler hit a two-run homer off Vidal Nuno in the eighth to reduce the lead to 8-4. Nuno faced two batters and was replaced by Miguel Castrol.

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