Unless there’s an unexpected change in plans, the Orioles won’t bring up a reliever for tonight’s game against the Astros at Minute Maid Park.
The situation needed to be monitored after Thursday’s doubleheader against the White Sox, when the Orioles used all seven relievers while gaining a split. They weren’t out of the woods yesterday, and starter Chris Tillman lasted only 4 2/3 innings.
Manager Buck Showalter used three relievers - Chaz Roe, Oliver Drake and Brian Matusz - in a 9-5 loss to the Rays. Drake threw 34 pitches in two innings and doesn’t figure to be available tonight.
Ubaldo Jimenez, who starts tonight in the series opener, has worked seven innings in five of his nine outings. But he’s also lasted only four innings in two starts.
Jimenez didn’t allow a hit over 3 2/3 scoreless innings on April 17 against the Red Sox before his bizarre ejection.
Before yesterday, the Orioles bullpen ranked second in the majors since April 29 with a 2.13 ERA in 80 1/3 innings. The unit was fifth in the majors and fourth in the American League with a .221 opponents average during that span.
Heading into tonight, Orioles relievers rank 10th in the majors and sixth in the American League with a 3.28 ERA in 151 innings. Opponents are batting .236, ninth in the majors and seventh in the league.