Orioles rotation reaches another uncertain spot

NEW YORK – The Orioles finally get a much-needed break before wedging five games into four days in Boston, including Saturday’s doubleheader and a night game on Memorial Day.

Wouldn’t the afternoon make more sense?

Neither team is listing its starting pitchers for the series. Nice way to spice up a relationship. Keep some mystery in it.

Kyle Bradish’s next turn is Friday night, and Jordan Lyles could follow Saturday on normal rest instead of benefitting from the off day. As the veteran, he gets to choose whether to pitch in Game 1 or 2.

Bruce Zimmermann figures to start Sunday, with Tyler Wells closing out the series Monday. Everyone stays in turn.

But what about the pitcher who’s paired with Lyles?

Spenser Watkins is on the injured list and the Orioles haven’t confirmed his replacement. Which brings us to our favorite endeavor – guessing the starter.

No answer is too outrageous unless you’re bringing someone out of retirement or thinking DL Hall.

Give the kid a little more time.

Grayson Rodriguez remains Triple-A Norfolk’s scheduled starter Friday night. Selecting his contract for a doubleheader game would be an abrupt switch from what the club intended to do, but of course, things can change quickly around here.

I don’t see it happening. Just don’t quote me if I’m wrong.

Dean Kremer was extended to three innings and 43 pitches Tuesday night. The Orioles didn’t move him up from Double-A Bowie to make only one start with the Tides, and they aren’t likely to send him into a major game on short rest.

Circumstances can force them to pivot. Or break the glass, as I heard one person phrase it. But I don’t see that happening, either.

Kremer has tossed five scoreless innings on his assignment, allowing only one hit, walking one batter and striking out 11.

“That’s great to see,” manager Brandon Hyde said yesterday. “I saw the stat on him on first-pitch strikes, and it was a ton of first-pitch strikes, no walks. Sounds like he had a really good outing (Tuesday) night, so that was good to read this morning.

Last night’s rainout in Norfolk leaves Hall and Zac Lowther as the starters for today’s doubleheader. Cody Sedlock was supposed to start tonight but is pushed back, perhaps to Saturday.

Lowther is on the 40-man roster. He’s 1-4 with a 9.26 ERA and 2.143 WHIP in 23 1/3 innings.

Keegan Akin must be such a temptation with his 1.23 ERA and 0.818 WHIP in 12 games, only four runs and 16 hits in 29 1/3 innings. But the Orioles don’t want to mess with him by shoving him back into the rotation.

“Not right now,” Hyde said. “It’s hard to take him out of the role he’s in right now just because he’s really rolling. Getting right-handers and left-handers out. He’s really valuable. And we don’t really have a true long guy besides him in the bullpen, either.

“I think that’s something we might consider along the way, but right now I’d like to keep him in the role he’s in.”

In my mind, I keep going back to Denyi Reyes as a possibility because he was up briefly, he’s on the 40-man roster and he’s stretched out. He was used in relief Tuesday night, but only for two innings and 37 pitches (26 strikes) before the game was halted due to rain.

Maybe he would have kept going, confirmation that the Orioles didn’t intend to start him. Maybe the forecast ensured that Reyes wasn’t going to be needed for extensive coverage. Perhaps we’ll never know.

I know that he’s still available if the Orioles want him. The relief appearance didn’t impact him.

A bullpen game is such a risky proposition in a doubleheader, though the Orioles will receive a 27th man. They can’t go with a bunch of one- or two-inning guys.

Meanwhile, Rougned Odor has a 10-game hitting streak, which he extended last night with his fly ball in the ninth inning that fell among a group of Yankees with two outs. He played in his 1,000th career game.

Cedric Mullins’ 50 career stolen bases are fifth-most by an Orioles player in his first 319 career games with the team. He trails Don Baylor (72), Brian Roberts (69), Jerry Hairston (56) and Al Bumbry (52).

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