Norfolk rotation scrambled again, Elias on Rodriguez, tonight's starters in San Francisco

Triple-A rotations rarely seem to duplicate after one or two turns. Can be injury related. Can be tied to major league promotions or demotions. Can be due to the built-in Monday breaks.

The Norfolk Tides have used 10 starters in 54 games, and their probables in the Gwinnett series are changing.

Left-hander DL Hall started Tuesday night and worked three innings in his de-load phase. Lefties Cole Irvin and Drew Rom started the following day’s doubleheader.

Lefty Bruce Zimmermann was scheduled for yesterday, with Ryan Watson listed for Friday while crashing the southpaw party.

Can’t be left out.

Well, that’s not how it’s playing out. Zimmermann was scratched and Watson took his spot, allowing two runs with a season-high seven strikeouts over five innings in the Tides’ 5-2 win.

Norfolk is listing Friday as TBA, followed by Grayson Rodriguez Saturday and Spenser Watkins Sunday. Either Zimmermann is pushed back or he’s in San Francisco after the Orioles used seven pitchers Wednesday, including Keegan Akin as the opener.

The off-day allows the bullpen to reset a bit, but how much length is available with Austin Voth following Akin and throwing 58 pitches? Zimmermann makes sense as a fresh arm, a need that the Orioles discussed after Wednesday’s loss.

They gambled by not making a move prior to the game, hoping they could extend Voth farther than 2 1/3 innings after Akin threw 25 pitches in the first. Cionel Pérez retired only two batters, Mychal Givens didn’t get an out in the fifth, Mike Baumann covered 2 1/3, and Bryan Baker and Danny Coulombe had to work back-to-back days.

(Here’s the reminder that an optioned pitcher can’t be recalled for 15 days unless replacing an injured player.)

Rodriguez hasn’t pitched since his demotion following a May 26 outing against the Rangers. He accounts for only one of the Norfolk starts.

The length of his reset isn’t any more concrete than the injury timelines that the media seeks from executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias.

“That was difficult,” said executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias. “He had probably about half good starts and half bad starts when he was up here. I think the thing that tilted it for us … first of all, I think he will benefit from this. You look at all these young guys that we have up here pitching, or most of them, Dean (Kremer) and Kyle Bradish in particular, their first go-arounds in the major leagues, they had 7-something ERAs, got hit around, did some things that you knew were interesting. They had good strikeout numbers. And in Dean’s case, he went back down, in Kyle’s case, he went down through the use of a rehab assignment and came back up and they were different guys. And I fully expect we’re going to get something similar.

“That’s kind of par for the course in player development nowadays is, you come up to the majors, you show flashes of your talent, but you maybe experience a little bit more failure than success right off the bat. You go back down, get your confidence back, fix somethings that you’re working on. You come back up and you’re a different player, a better player. So, we hope that’s the case here. But I also think a big part of the calculus sending him down is, even in his better outings he tended to run out of pitches after the fifth inning, and we have a taxed bullpen right now. But he’s going to be back, he’s going to be back in the rotation. I’m hoping that he’s in our rotation when we’re hopefully playing in October.

“We just want to get him right and get him back up here to help. But he’s 23, he’s off to a brilliant start in his career, and this doesn’t change that.”

The Orioles are starting Kremer tonight at Oracle Park. He's registered four quality starts and came within one and two outs of two others prior to his last outing.

The Giants, 28-28 overall after going 17-12 in May, are in third place in the National League West and starting Logan Webb, former Oriole Alex Cobb and Anthony DeSclafani in the series. Three consecutive right-handers while Cedric Mullins sits on the injured list.

Webb has a 2.75 ERA and 1.069 WHIP in 11 starts. He's been on a tremendous roll, with only nine runs allowed and 48 strikeouts in his last seven starts over 48 1/3 innings.

Webb was 3-0 with a 1.30 ERA last month in five starts. He's never faced the Orioles.

* Norfolk infielder Joey Ortiz hasn't played since the Orioles sent him down May 26 due to an illness.

Jordan Westburg's bat remains healthy. He doubled yesterday and hit his 15th home run.

Westburg is batting .315 with a 1.005 OPS.


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