His closer, right-hander Félix Bautista, was unavailable last night but Orioles manager Brandon Hyde hopes the big man can get back on the mound tonight. Hyde informed reporters after Friday's game that Bautista experienced some arm fatigue. He produced a six-out, 25-pitch save Tuesday against Toronto in his last game.
Bautista did some throwing earlier today to test his arm and Hyde was meeting with reporters as that was happening. So, the manager didn’t have an update on how that went during his pregame interview session.
“Possibly tonight, hopefully tomorrow, if he can’t go tonight,” Hyde said of Bautista’s return to the mound.
They will surely need him for the playoff push. The rookie is 4-3 with an ERA of 1.62 and 12 saves in 61 innings. His ERA is 1.10 in 16 1/3 innings since Aug. 5. He’s a key player on this club.
“Very. Very important,” Hyde said of Bautista. “ He’s been great for us all season long. Pitching in huge spots. So, want to make sure he feels good to pitch.”
Hyde said all year the club has been careful with their bullpen arms, especially the younger pitchers that are gaining valuable experience at the MLB level.
“I think it’s something we’ve done a really good job of monitoring in trying to keep guys as healthy as possible. I think one guy going three times in a row with (Nick) Vespi the other day and that’s the only time all season. If a guy has a heavy workload we try to back off. So I feel like our usage has been – we’ve done a good job with that. They have thrown a lot of innings and some of these guys are pitching longer than they have in the past. But our medical team, our pitching guys, strength coaches, we communicate daily on these guys.”
Hyde gave out some props today to new Oriole right-hander Jake Reed, who got four big outs last night on just six pitches. He’s thrown 2 1/3 scoreless in two games this week since he was claimed off waivers Monday from the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“I just know what an unusual look it is, especially against right-handed hitters. Before the claim, we look into the player and we see he just closed a game for the Dodgers not that long ago (Aug. 30 against the Mets) so you know there is strike-throwing ability. He is tough on right-handed hitters especially. So, throw him out there and see what we’ve got. Thought he pitched well against Toronto and for me that was a good pocket for him to pitch last night and he did a good job.”
Hyde said the bullpen guys that pitched last night possibly could all be used today. He was asked does that include DL Hall, who pitched 1 1/3 scoreless but needed 30 pitches to get four outs Friday?
“Hall is somebody that, I’m not going to give away my bullpen secrets to the Red Sox. Hall is somebody I’m going to be careful with,” he said.
Hyde enjoyed watching 21-year-old Gunnar Henderson deliver a huge two-run single last night as part of a two-hit night.
“Definitely matured quite a bit and I haven’t spent a ton of time with him obviously before he got here," he said. "See him in some mini camps, bring him over for some (spring) big league games. But hadn’t seen him play on a daily basis. I’ve just been impressed with one, how athletic he is. For that size to have that speed, arm strength, just how his feet work. Like the whole thing has been impressive and the bat speed is different, than what I have seen in the past.
"The strength and the bat speed, the way he can really cover (the plate) and just put really good swings out there. You feel like when is up there he’s got a really good chance to do some damage. So that was great to see. Beautiful swing last night on a break ball (for a double) to go to left-center. I like the swings he is throwing out there – especially for a young hitter."
Hyde talked about the continuing struggles on offense of left fielder Austin Hays, who went 0-for-3 last night and is 3-for-29 over his past eight games. He is batting eighth again today.
"I just think he's too good of a player to struggle for a while. Just think he is really jumpy right now, he's trying so hard. You see lunging more than normal, kind of crashing into the ball instead of letting the ball get to him.
"I know he's had his scuffles but we have won this year because of our pitching and our defense. And I have a tough time taking guys that helped us defensively out of the lineup. Hays is hitting down in the order but what he does for us on defense, in a really tough left field to play, is huge for us right now."
Jordan Lyles returns to the O's rotation today after missing his Monday start due to illness. Hyde said they will monitor him closely but wasn't sure if this would be just a normal start for him. He'll see as it goes today.