The Orioles made a change to their bullpen before tonight’s series opener against the Giants, and it isn’t just about length and a fresh arm.
They needed a healthy one, too.
Mychal Givens was placed on the 15-day injured list, retroactive to yesterday, with right shoulder inflammation. Left-hander Bruce Zimmermann was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk.
Givens faced three Cleveland batters Wednesday and didn’t retire anyone. He’s made six appearances and allowed five earned runs (six total) and four hits with six walks and two strikeouts in four innings.
The reunion hasn’t gone as planned for Givens or the Orioles.
Since signing as a free agent in December, Givens has been limited to four spring training games due to inflammation in his left knee that forced him on the injured list, and now is lost for an indefinite period with a shoulder issue.
The bullpen must get along again without Givens and Dillon Tate, who hasn’t pitched since last season due to a right forearm/elbow strain and a stress reaction in the forearm/elbow that’s unrelated to the previous injury. Tate made 10 appearances on his rehab assignment and was shut down again.
The unit's ERA has risen to 3.49, sixth in the majors. It had to cover the last eight innings of Wednesday's game.
Zimmermann was scratched from yesterday’s start with Norfolk and joined the team in San Francisco. He’s posted a 4.05 ERA and 1.457 WHIP in nine outings, with 50 strikeouts in 46 2/3 innings and only three home runs.
The Baltimore native tossed six scoreless innings in a May 26 start in Memphis. He can work in long relief after the Orioles used seven pitchers Wednesday, beginning with opener Keegan Akin and continuing with Austin Voth, who’s down after throwing 58 pitches in 2 1/3 innings.
The Orioles are beginning a three-game series in San Francisco, where they haven’t played since August 2016. They won two of three, rallying from a 7-1 deficit in the finale by scoring twice in the seventh and eighth innings and getting a three-run homer from Jonathan Schoop in the ninth.
The teams met in 2019 at Camden Yards, with the Orioles losing two of three games. The all-time series record is 9-9.
The Orioles are four games behind the first-place Rays in the division. They’re 18-9 on the road and averaging 5.81 runs per game away from home, the second-most behind the Rangers’ 5.9.
Adam Frazier stays in the leadoff spot. Austin Hays is batting cleanup after missing Wednesday’s game with an illness.
Aaron Hicks is in center field, where he debuted with the Orioles Wednesday and came out of the game after the sixth inning with cramping in his left calf.
Ryan O’Hearn is the first baseman and Gunnar Henderson is the designated hitter. Ryan Mountcastle is on the bench.
Adley Rutschman is behind the plate tonight. He leads the Orioles in hits (58) and walks (43) and can become only the second catcher since Milwaukee’s Jonathan Lecroy in 2014 to rank first on his club in both categories per STATS. Sean Murphy did it with Oakland in 2022.
Eight Orioles have scored 25 runs or more, most in the majors.
Dean Kremer, making his first career appearance against the Giants, is trying for his fifth quality start in 2023.
Kremer is the first Orioles pitcher to throw at least six innings and give up one run or fewer in each of his first two interleague starts in a season since Jeremy Guthrie in 2008, according to STATS.
The Orioles will try to slow right-hander Logan Webb, who’s registered a 2.75 ERA and 1.069 WHIP in 11 starts. He's allowed nine runs and struck out 48 batters in his last seven starts over 48 1/3 innings.
Webb has worked at least six innings and allowed two runs or fewer in those seven starts, the longest streak by any pitcher this season.
The Giants lost two of three to the Pirates in their last series, scoring 14 runs on 18 hits in the first game but totaling five runs in the last two.
Former Orioles outfielder Mike Yastrzemski tripled Wednesday and is four extra-base hits away from 200 for his career. He could become the fifth Giants player to reach that mark in fewer than 500 games and the first since Pablo Sandoval in 2012, according to STATS.
The Orioles lead the majors with 53 double plays turned, and the Giants are tied for second with 49.
San Francisco has hit into 32 double plays this season, tied for fourth fewest in the majors. Meanwhile, the Orioles have hit into 47, which is the sixth most.
For the Orioles
Adam Frazier 2B
Adley Rutschman C
Anthony Santander RF
Austin Hays LF
Gunnar Henderson DH
Aaron Hicks CF
Ryan O’Hearn 1B
Ramón Urías 3B
Jorge Mateo SS
Dean Kremer RHP
Steve Melewski is with the team in San Francisco, and I’m meeting it in Milwaukee.