This, that and the other

The Orioles have talked about going to a six-man rotation, certainly by the brutal stretch in June with only one day off. In the meantime, Cole Irvin pitches out of the bullpen and waits to find out if he’s bouncing between roles again.

Too many starters? We heard it before Kyle Bradish and John Means were reinstated from the injured list. Tyler Wells and Grayson Rodriguez were sidelined by inflammation in the elbow and shoulder, respectively. These things, yes, have a way of working themselves out.

Means made his fourth start yesterday and tossed three scoreless innings against the Cardinals with only one hit allowed. He threw 51 pitches and Irvin replaced him after inclement weather forced another interruption.

Toasted ravioli and rain delays. It’s what St. Louis does.

Was a storm the only reason Means came out of the game? Unfortunately, no.

Albert Suárez began warming in the top of the fourth. Pitching coach Drew French followed Means down the tunnel after the last out in the third. Means’ velocity was down across the board. Kevin Brown and Ben McDonald noted on the MASN broadcast that he appeared to shake his arm a few times.

I wasn’t in St. Louis but I thought that I saw Means standing at the railing after the delay, which seemed like a positive sign. Or I’m wrong. But manager Brandon Hyde told the media afterward that Means was dealing with a health issue.

“He had some elbow discomfort, so he was going to get removed after that inning anyway and he’s going to get some further tests,” Hyde said.

“That was disappointing. You could tell a little something wasn’t right and was trying to gut through it. But he did feel some elbow soreness and we’re hoping for the best.”

Means didn’t make the Division Series roster due to soreness in the forearm/elbow area during a simulated game at Camden Yards, which delayed his winter throwing program and led to his placement on the injured list on Opening Day. He underwent Tommy John surgery in late April 2022.

Too soon for Cade Povich?

Rodriguez opens the White Sox series tonight at Guaranteed Rate Field, followed by Corbin Burnes Friday, Dean Kremer Saturday and Kyle Bradish Sunday. Everyone staying in turn.

Means would line up to start Monday afternoon’s home game against the Red Sox.

The bullpen could use a fresh arm today but how does that happen with Yennier Cano and Keegan Akin the only relievers with options? Cole won’t be available after throwing 56 pitches in 3 1/3 innings. Albert Suárez threw only 11, which could make him available tonight if Hyde’s willing to use him back-to-back for the first time this season – and summon him for the third time in four games.

Akin threw 34 pitches yesterday after the resumption of the suspended game, so he’s out.

By the way, let’s not break Irvin. He had a 22 2/3 innings scoreless streak in the rotation and allowed only two runs over his last four starts totaling 25 2/3. He let an inherited runner score on Sunday but wasn’t charged with a run in two innings. He allowed five yesterday along with six hits but two were unearned.

* The sweepless streak in the regular season died yesterday. It was 106 series.

The Cardinals hadn’t swept an opponent since July 17-19, 2023 against the Marlins. The Orioles hadn’t been swept since May 13-15, 2022 in Detroit – immediately after winning two of three in St. Louis.

Players took pride in the streak but weren’t consumed by it. That’s the media’s job.

Also, there’s the whole Division Series thing, which necessitated the “regular season” notation.

The ending had to come with some degree of weirdness. Austin Hays and Cedric Mullins begin the ninth with singles, right fielder Lars Nootbaar races back and makes a leaping catch of Kyle Stowers’ 101.4 mph line drive that looked like it could be a game-tying double, and Mullins is doubled off first base on the sacrifice fly.

The entire series in St. Louis felt a little off, with the rain and the suspended game and another delay yesterday and starters on both sides leaving early. The Cardinals didn’t have their top three relievers available to protect a 5-3 lead and rookie Ryan Fernandez, a 23rd-round draft pick of the Red Sox in 2018 out of Hillsborough Community College in Tampa who was selected in the 2023 Rule 5 draft, earned his first major league save. He had 17 in the minors.

The Cardinals were 3-13 in games that Fernandez appeared in before yesterday.

The Orioles have lost three in a row for the first time this season. This was supposed to be a soft part of the schedule before four straight series against division opponents.  

* The Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 draft is the final order of business at the Winter Meetings. Selections are announced, media scrambles to look up the names, and most of the interest stays with players chosen in the major league phase.

The others tend to be attached notes.

Left-hander Trey McGough is becoming worthy of a lot more than passing mention as he moves up to Triple-A Norfolk.

The Orioles selected McGough from the Pirates organization in December 2022. He warranted a little more attention because he pitched at Mount St Mary’s in Emmitsburg, Md. and was recovering from Tommy John surgery.

“He was high on our list,” director of minor league operations Kent Qualls said that day. “Still relatively young at 24. Basically a left-handed starter that had advanced and moved pretty quickly through the Pirates’ org. Was able to get to Triple-A in three seasons. Has a good mix of four pitches, with an average-to-plus fastball at 91-94. Really good slider and changeup.

“We don’t have a ton of left-handed pitching, so we thought it was interesting to acquire a left-handed pitcher in this spot. And we also felt comfortable with the fact that he had TJ and his recovery timeline. We would still have him under control for three seasons, so we still felt like there was enough development time where we would have him under contract even after the rehab was completed.”

McGough turned 26 on March 29. He made seven appearances in the Arizona Fall League last year, was assigned again to Bowie and posted a 1.83 ERA and 0.814 WHIP in 12 games. He allowed four earned runs (six total) and 10 hits with six walks, 24 strikeouts and no home runs in 19 2/3 innings.

McGough made eight appearances, including five starts, with Triple-A Indianapolis in 2022. He’s getting back on the top rung of the farm system ladder.

* Ronald Guzmán is moving up from the Florida Complex League to High-A Aberdeen.

Guzman is the former power-hitting first baseman with the Rangers who converted to pitching.

The Orioles signed Guzman in January after the Giants released him. He made four relief appearances in the FCL and allowed one earned run (three total) and two hits with six walks, seven strikeouts and a .133 opponents’ average in 4 1/3 innings.

He’s working on his command.

Closer Craig Kimbrel's season is trending up again
Orioles acquire Blake Hunt from Mariners for Mike ...

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to