Voth's start moved to Friday night (plus other notes)

BOSTON – Austin Voth is packing his bags today and leaving the Orioles again, this time confident that he’ll start Friday night’s series opener against the Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla.

It doesn’t always work out.

Voth had left the team to make tonight’s start in Boston, with the Orioles getting him on an earlier flight rather than putting him on the charter, but last night’s rainout moved Dean Kremer to tonight.

Rather than skip Voth, manager Brandon Hyde chose to hand him the ball on Friday. Jordan Lyles and Spenser Watkins would follow if kept in order, but those spots are TBA.

“We’re still figuring some things out there the last two days in Tampa,” Hyde said. “Dean was ready to pitch last night, and we’re just pushing those two guys back.”

Voth downplayed the switch and how it impacts his preparation.

“It’s just one day,” he said. “It’s honestly probably better just because it’s an extra day of rest. One extra day of rest is always good, especially this time of year.”

The trip to Boston wasn’t a total waste. Voth had a nice meal, on the club, and went to bed early.

There haven’t been any complaints since the Orioles claimed him off waivers from the Nationals on June 7.

Voth has posted a 3.19 ERA and 1.282 WHIP in 12 games, compared to his 10.13 ERA and 2.143 WHIP in 19 relief appearances with Washington. He’s back in a major league rotation, with his ninth start approaching, and he’s in a pennant race.

Funny how his professional world has turned.

“It’s been crazy, honestly,” he said. “I go from the bullpen to starting, and pitching kind of off and on, good and bad in D.C., to coming here and pitching pretty decent. Kind of changed my season around. And it’s always good just to be on a team that’s winning. That’s for sure.

“I’m just happy to be here and glad to be with these guys.”

Voth has made four relief appearances with the Orioles, only one since June 16. He prefers the rotation, but liked being near the bullpen energy.

“It’s fun, it’s loose,” he said. “They have little games they like to play. It’s not just a tense environment where it’s like, ‘Oh, when’s my name going to be called?’ Everybody seems to be loose and talkative, and it’s not all about baseball sometimes down there. My time in the bullpen was fun. It was fun being there.”

The Rays are starting Corey Kluber, Shane McClanahan and Drew Rasmussen in the weekend series.

The Orioles are tied with Tampa Bay for third place and the last wild card spot. Hyde is managing a team that’s in the hunt, a dramatic change from what he’s endured since his hiring in December 2018.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Hyde said. “It’s fun playing for something every single night. We haven’t been in this position. I think our guys are taking it head-on. They love the fact that we’re playing meaningful games now in August, and it’s so much more fun playing this way. So, I think our guys are enjoying it.”

Playful debates emerged this afternoon about the validity of a one-game series, whether it qualifies as such and if a win tonight constitutes a sweep.

The Orioles checked into their hotel early this morning and checked out before arriving at the ballpark. They’re playing a series opener on getaway day, the oddity a result of baseball's lockout.

“It’s a little strange, but being in the big leagues for a while, you’re kind of used to once or twice a year sometimes having to fly in for that one day makeup rainout that happened in April," Hyde said. "It’s not a first for a lot of us, but it is a little bit unusual.”

The Orioles are 7-1 in August, and their .875 winning percentage is tied for second-best in the majors behind the 9-0 Dodgers. They’ve outscored opponents 42-27 this month and posted a .850 OPS and 3.38 ERA in 72 innings.

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