Pitching woes for the O’s

Want to view the glass as half full?

The Orioles scored six runs in the bottom of the eighth inning last night and brought the tying run to the plate. They had no business being in that game. Except that they truly believe that they’re in every game, no matter the deficit or the inning.

Want to view the glass as half empty?

The rotation is a royal mess. Starters have gone five innings or fewer in five of the last six games. That’s quite alarming. Jason Hammel has a 5.72 ERA, and Wei-Yin Chen has a strained oblique. They’re the top two starters here.

Miguel Gonzalez returns on Tuesday. If his blister does the same, the Orioles will need a 10-man bullpen.

Jair Jurrjens will be the 10th pitcher to start for the Orioles this season. They used 12 starters in 2012. It’s only May 18.

How’s that knuckleball working for Zach Clark? Heck, how’s it working for Phil Niekro? He couldn’t do any worse right now.

A fan in front of the press box last night was wearing a Hayden Penn jersey, and I actually grew nostalgic. If I see a Victor Santos jersey, I may dissolve into tears.

The Orioles have allowed at least 17 hits in consecutive games for the fourth time in franchise history. Before last night, it hadn’t occurred since April 30-May 1, 1996 vs. the Yankees.

Jurrjens is getting his shot today, and I have no idea what’s coming. I’ve heard that his fastball is in the 87-88 mph range, though adrenaline could bump him into the low 90s today. It’s been known to happen.

The Orioles need a starter to actually get through the seventh, but man, that’s a lot to ask of Jurrjens in his first outing.

If not Jurrjens, then who? Zach Britton and Jake Arrieta aren’t ready to come back up, in part because of their physical issues. Tsuyoshi Wada is going to make a handful of injury-rehab starts while the Orioles keep their fingers crossed. If his third outing mirrors his first, they will have serious concerns.

Steve Johnson will return eventually, but he was charged with five runs (four earned) and walked four last night at Norfolk. He also struck out five. He’s always going to get his strikeouts.

Buck Britton could beat his brother to Baltimore. He hit a grand slam last night for the Tides.

Speaking of the Tides, Russ Canzler singled twice to extend his hitting streak to 12 games. Brandon Wood had two hits and is now batting .345 in six games since the Orioles acquired him from the Royals organization for cash considerations. Reliever Adam Russell has worked nine consecutive scoreless innings.

Double-A Bowie’s Jason Gurka didn’t allow a baserunner and struck out four while working the final three innings. He picked up his fourth straight save and has now gone 20 1/3 innings without permitting a run.

OK, back to the majors...

Yamaico Navarro hit his first career triple last night, and he made a positive impression on manager Buck Showalter, who appreciated the energy that the second baseman brought into the game. It really does appear that Showalter wants to give Navarro a chance to seize the job, and he can’t do it at Norfolk.

I arrived at Camden Yards yesterday assuming that Navarro would be optioned on Saturday to make room for Jurrjens on the 25-man roster. Now, I’d be surprised if that’s the move.

Do second baseman Ryan Flaherty and reliever Alex Burnett get optioned today, with Jurrjens and a reliever being added to the roster?

Stay tuned.

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