Last night’s game at Camden Yards was September baseball at its most obnoxious.
The Red Sox used 26 players, including four second basemen and nine relievers. The Orioles used eight relievers.
It’s no longer baseball as we know it while teams are fighting for playoff spots. Makes no sense to me.
Miguel Castro took the loss last night, retiring the side in order with two called third strikes in the 10th inning but walking the bases loaded in the 11th and surrendering Andrew Benintendi’s two-run single on a ground ball through the right side.
Castro has been scored upon in his last five outings, with 10 walks in 7 2/3 innings. He’s up to 60 2/3 innings with the Orioles and 24 1/3 at Double-A Bowie. The workload is at its heaviest.
“You have to have look at that ... but that’s something all guys fight this time of year,” said manager Buck Showalter. “It’s something we keep an eye on. He’s another guy that Roger (McDowell) and Alan (Mills) and I are on top of and the trainers every day.
“Nobody works harder than him. He really wants this. But sometimes we have to be the voice of reason with guys like that because the want-to gets in the way of should you. But we look at it every day. We make sure we keep our arms around that.”
In order to craft a lineup for last night’s series opener against the Red Sox, Showalter had to consider health, splits, matchups and more. The usual routine.
Adam Jones sat out two of the last three games with “general soreness,” but he felt good and returned to center field.
Right-handers were hitting .179 against Red Sox starter Doug Fister this season and left-handers were batting .293, but Showalter didn’t have a wealth of choices from the left side. Seth Smith was 3-for-18 lifetime against Fister, the two home runs failing to influence his manager.
Rookie Austin Hays shifted from center field to right, making his fifth start since the Orioles selected his contract from Double-A Bowie on Sept. 5. Circumstances may have played a part in the decision, but it also made sense to keep his bat active.
Hays collected four hits, including his first major league home run, over the past two games at Yankee Stadium. He drove in three runs and showed off a strong and accurate arm.
He also maintained his composure in a stressful environment.
“We’re learning about him in a lot of different things,” Showalter said. “Sometimes, those young players, other teams aren’t real comfortable against them because they don’t have a track record with them.”
Hays increased his RBI total to five last night with a two-run double off Fister in the second inning that gave the Orioles a 3-0 lead. The kid also is calm while hitting with the bases loaded and no outs.
Hays fell behind 0-2, saw a third consecutive two-seam fastball and drove it up the middle. It deflected off the bag and bounced into shallow left-center field.
The double wasn’t the only time that Hays reached second base. It happened twice on errors, with the rookie running hard out of the box.
“It was there, and let’s face it, he’s played 140 games, too,” Showalter said. “I’ve been really impressed with his arm strength. He’s shown some arm strength on some throws flat-footed.
“That part of it I really like that he’s anticipating taking an extra base. But he’s played under control pretty well with that. It’s not a reckless aggressiveness so far.”
The Red Sox are starting left-handers Drew Pomeranz and Chris Sale the next two nights and Hays seems a lock to stay in the lineup. Left-handers are batting .295 against Pomeranz this season and right-handers are hitting .236, but he isn’t a reverse-splits guy over his career. He’s held left-handers to a .222 average over 167 games.
* The Orioles had interest in bringing back outfielder Quintin Berry, who appeared in 10 games with them in 2014, but he signed with the Brewers last month.
The Twins released Berry in May and he was playing for the independent Long Island Ducks. He always seems to find a job when rosters expand because of his defense and baserunning. He’s 27-for-28 in stolen base attempts.