The only certainties in the Orioles rotation moving forward are Dylan Bundy starting tonight to close out the Athletics series and rookies Luis Ortiz and Yefry Ramírez for the first two games of the weekend series against the White Sox.
Alex Cobb won’t stay in turn Sunday and could be held back until next weekend’s series in the Bronx. The blister needs more time to heal. The Orioles must keep a ball out of his hand to avoid having the seams open it up again.
The humidity apparently is an issue, as well.
It gets worse. Manager Buck Showalter indicated last night that Andrew Cashner might have been bothered by a physical issue while failing to record an out in the third inning of a 10-0 loss.
Asked about it later, Cashner offered a “no” as his response. Another reporter explained that Showalter brought it up.
“I don’t know,” Cashner replied. “We’ll wait and see.”
Showalter had paused when asked whether any substitutions in the game were related to health issues, such as Adam Jones coming out after the fifth inning. He ran all of them in his head and only mentioned Cashner again as a possibility.
Getting to the finish line is becoming a lot harder.
* As the Orioles paraded more relievers into last night’s game, we’re reminded again how much they miss left-hander Richard Bleier, lost for the year following lat surgery.
Bleier has been at Camden Yards the last few days. He isn’t cleared for baseball activities and is proceeded with his rehab.
“Richard’s one of those guys that he’s so humble and appreciative of where he is,” Showalter said. “He’s going to be pitching at 32 next year, he’s established himself here. We miss him. This is a guy with a sub-2 ERA for really a couple of seasons. A good thing about him is he doesn’t rely on big velocity to get people out.
“I don’t know where he’s going to be next spring and next April, but we like where it’s headed. Everything has been fine. Same with (Mark) Trumbo. I wouldn’t commit that they’re both going to be there on opening day, but there’s a chance. But it would be nice to get Richard back.
“As much as people want to talk about (Darren) O’Day or (Zach) Britton or (Brad) Brach or whoever, they somehow don’t mention Richard in that same vein. Richard is a pretty good pitcher for us.”
* Cody Carroll made his first appearance with the Orioles last night since Aug. 26 and he let an inherited runner score and two of his own in Oakland’s 10-run third inning. He recorded all three outs, but he also needed 32 pitches.
Not exactly what he was searching for upon his return to the majors, but as I’ve written, growing pains can be excruciating.
The Orioles optioned Carroll after he allowed a run and walked two batters in his one inning against the Yankees - his ninth game in the majors. He appeared in three more with Triple-A Norfolk, linking back-to-back scoreless innings after surrendering two runs and walking four Gwinnett batters in two-thirds of an inning on Aug.29.
The reset was needed, though it meant leaving the level that he aspired to reach for so long. As they all do.
“Yeah, the first day was a little weird being back just because you want to be up here,” he said Tuesday while sitting at his locker. “But after that, just trying to get back to yourself. I think those couple days absolutely helped.”
Showalter keeps referencing the opportunity that’s presented to the younger players over the final month and how they need to take hold of it.
“Yeah, absolutely,” Carroll said. “That’s what I’m here to do, show them I can pitch up here and stay up here in the long haul.”
Outfielder DJ Stewart has been impressed by Carroll since earlier in the summer when they were temporary teammates.
“My first time seeing Cody was in the All-Star Game this year and he went 1-2-3 and it was very impressive,” Stewart recalled. “I walked away from that saying, ‘I’m glad that guy’s on my All-Star team.’ And then he gets traded and we’re getting ready to play Scranton and I’m like, ‘I’m glad that guy’s on my team.’
“To me, Cody is a very, very good pitcher. He has command of the strike zone. I haven’t seen a lot of outings, but the small sample size that I have seen, it’s impressive.”
* The Orioles didn’t commit an error the past two nights and there wasn’t a botched rundown or miscommunication on a popup or extra base surrendered by a poor read or pursuit.
The crispness of play had to improve following a weekend series at Tropicana Field that included numerous breakdowns both physical and mental. Poor execution and poor decisions creating a toxic cocktail that ensured a three-game sweep.
Showalter won’t tolerate it, but corrections are trickier with only a few weeks left in the season and players arriving from outside the organization.
“We’re going to go over seven or eight plays in the advance meeting today about things that, here’s the way the play went down and what we should have done differently,” Showalter said before Tuesday night’s game.
“We do that a lot. We’ve done that in the past, but not to the extent that we’re going it now. But shame on us if we don’t ... We also go over things we did real well. It’s not like you’re just sitting there and beating up on people. But it’s also one of those things where if you’ve got a thin skin you probably shouldn’t come in. For all of us.
“It’s no reflection of where they’ve been and what they did there or whatever. A lot of times you find out what they already knew, but you keep working and see if you can uncover that one thing that might change it. We’ve seen some improvement in a couple of guys. But how much of that is anxiety of being in the big leagues or being with a new club after a trade? All that figures into it. So, we’ll see.”
* The Orioles had three players selected in last night’s Dominican Winter League Draft: infielder Jean Carlos Encarnación (3rd round by Licey) and right-handers Diógenes Almengo (ninth round by Escogido), and Luis Pérez (13th round by Escogido).
Encarnación, 20, was part of the return from the Braves in the Kevin Gausman/ Darren O’Day trade. He batted .218/.240/.356 with four doubles, two triples, two home runs and seven RBis in 26 games with Single-A Delmarva.