It’s hanging over their heads, but they’re better equipped now to handle it. The Orioles have an extra reliever in their bullpen who can be sent down, and they have an infielder who can be summoned to Camden Yards.
Let’s just get it over with and move on.
If it were up to me, and we know that’s not the case, I’d recall Kevin Gausman to make the Wednesday or Thursday start and keep him here until he gives me a reason to send him back down.
See what you’ve got. Find out whether he’s ready to stick. Eliminate the convenient excuse that yesterday’s disappointing performance was caused by being taken out of his routine and shifted from New York to Norfolk to Bowie.
Give him an extended trial in the majors and figure out how to make room in the rotation. The leash doesn’t have to be long enough to wrap twice around the warehouse, but do a thorough evaluation under “normal” conditions.
Run the shuttle between the Orioles and the minors without him on board.
Gausman had poor command yesterday in Game 1 of the doubleheader. Could be a coincidence, but we’ll never really know. And since there’s no way to prove it, the disruption theory will have plenty of supporters.
Meanwhile, how about that bullpen?
In the last seven games, Orioles relievers have allowed one earned run and 14 hits in 24 innings.
Brad Brach was the reliever summoned from Norfolk on June 21 when the Orioles optioned Gausman and sent the fan base into a screaming fit. He’s made three appearance and hasn’t allowed a run in 4 2/3 innings.
Brach has surrendered only one hit, walked one and struck out four - all of them yesterday over two innings in Game 1.
“I think I’ve just had better results, a little bit more confidence,” he said. “Really, nothing has changed. I’m just getting a little more aggressive toward the hitters, which is what I’ve been trying to do. But yeah, just going out there and being aggressive and attacking hitters is pretty much all.”
What about the strikeouts yesterday?
“I seem to have pretty good swing-and-miss numbers in the minors, so I figured eventually they would come around,” he said. “It’s just one of those things where I got behind in bad counts, and when you fall behind, you’re going to give up hits and you’re not going to strike as many guys out. So I’ve just tried to get ahead as much as I can and that’s where the results have come the last few outings.”
On June 8 against the Athletics, Brach worked two innings and allowed four runs and four hits, with five walks and no strikeouts, to raise his ERA from 3.86 to 5.40. The Orioles optioned him the next day.
The way this club goes through relievers, Brach knows his time here could run out again, but he won’t find the strike zone while looking over his shoulder. Don’t even try it.
“It’s one of those things where the last couple of years I think I worried about it way too much, so now I know if I pitch well, I’ll be back up,” Brach said. “So it’s just kind of whatever happens happens and go out there and pitch well whenever I get the ball.”
Former Oriole Erik Bedard is on the mound today for the Rays. Nelson Cruz is 7-for-23 (.304) with a double and two home runs against him. Adam Jones is 6-for-13 (.462) with two doubles, and Nick Markakis is 5-for-12 (.417) with two doubles.
Delmon Young is 2-for-21, so he may stay on the bench after sitting out both ends of yesterday’s doubleheader.