The Orioles are discussing again whether they need to bring up another reliever following tonight’s 8-6 loss to the Rangers before 27,370 at Camden Yards.
Brad Brach tossed 2 2/3 scoreless innings, leaving the Orioles without a long man in a shorthanded bullpen for Wednesday night’s game.
“Brad was the big key,” said manager Buck Showalter after the Orioles lost their second straight game for the first time since June 18-19. “We have to kick it around whether we’ve got to make a move because we really don’t have much length tomorrow. You don’t want to go in assuming Wei-Yin (Chen) is going to do something. Brad’s done that. Brad’s defended himself well against left-handed hitters and that was a pretty good situation for him.
“We always sit down after a game and we’ll do it again tonight. With a six-man ‘pen, you kind of have to manage it a little differently. You have to keep people out of harm’s way, but also present your best opportunity to win a game. Tonight was a night that I could have used Zach (Britton) in the eighth inning to finish out if I wanted to, but it didn’t present that opportunity.”
The Orioles will have to create a spot Thursday for starter Kevin Gausman. It’s just a question of whether they make another difficult roster decision on Wednesday. None of their relievers have options.
They could option tonight’s starter, Miguel Gonzalez, and call up a reliever.
“We’re fine physically,” Showalter said. “We’re always on that cusp. We know we have to make that move for Kevin. We just have that potential to do it a day early.”
The Rangers hit four home runs tonight, matching their total in the series opener. However, Showalter was focused more on two infield hits, including a bouncer that Gonzalez failed to glove in the third inning.
“We did some good things, too, but didn’t group much together,” Showalter said. “I think the swinging bunt by (Adrian) Beltre and the double play ball that deflected off Miguel, you look back at little things like that. The ballpark’s playing the same way for both ballclubs. Ballpark fluctuates a lot during the season. They don’t change conditions or dimensions. They hit balls that would have been out regardless.
“We’re paying for mistakes that we make. Solo home runs don’t usually get you. It’s the other ones. Chris (Davis) had a big night for us. Just couldn’t get that shutdown. Brachy pitched real well. It would have really put us in a bind if he hadn’t.”
Gonzalez couldn’t keep the ball down and allowed a season-high six runs over 4 1/3 innings.
“He was up,” Showalter said. “He was trying to make some pitches. He got some balls in some spots he normally doesn’t get them in and they made him pay for it.
“We scored, what, six runs? There was enough to win a baseball game. They just did a better job, pitched a little better. Not much. (Colby) Lewis bent but didn’t break. Kind of pitched to the lead there. We had the tying run at the plate again in the ninth. I thought Chaz (Roe) threw the ball real well. Just the swinging bunt and the fly ball to left that carried out. But that same situation’s there for everybody.”
Mitch Moreland hit two more home runs, the second a two-run shot off Roe in the eighth inning that appeared to be a fairly routine fly ball to left field. It kept carrying and settled into the first row of seats.
“When that ball’s hit over in that area, you don’t know until it’s in a glove or not,” Showalter said. “It fluctuates a lot how it plays here. I wasn’t sure Manny (Machado’s) ball was going out. But there were a lot of things that happened over than that. I don’t hang it around the one thing. It’s not like they changed conditions or dimensions for one team or the other. We’re all playing the same environment.”
Moreland has four home runs in two nights.
“He’s been a good hitter for a while, especially in college,” Showalter said. “We made mistakes, whether it had been him or somebody else. You get the ball there and you’re going to pay. He’s not missing the mistakes we’re making, more than anything. I’m not taking anything away from him. That’s what big league hitters do. He’s been doing it for a while. He’s hitting .300. It’s not like he’s picking on us. The power’s always been there.”
Davis hit two home runs in his first two at-bats.
“If you look at the pace he’s on, getting close to that halfway point where you just kind of multiply everything times two and you get an idea of where they are, at the end of the year Chris is going to have his moments,” Showalter said. “He can create a lot of damage in a hurry and really be a force for us. He already has this year. That’s why when he goes through some challenging times you know there is good things potentially to happen around every corner.”