Orioles manager Buck Showalter said tonight that the club is “leaning toward” making a roster move on Thursday. Starter Miguel Gonzalez would go on the disabled list and the bullpen would receive a seventh reliever.
Orioles relievers have recorded 26 outs and allowed only one hit over the past two games despite being short-handed.
“It kind of reminded me of the old days when you had a six-man bullpen,” Showalter said following a 5-2 victory over the Red Sox that extended the Orioles’ winning streak to three games, tied for their longest this season.
“You had to have multiple-inning guys and you had to have two or three guys who could go multiple innings on a given night. Or an optionable bullpen. I had an owner, if the guy wasn’t good we got rid of them.
“When you pitch that many innings out of those two games, you know how good you’re pitching and still be on your feet the next day. I think we’re leaning toward making a move tomorrow just to cover ourselves, but something could change between here and there.”
Don’t look now, but the Orioles have won five of their last six games and are only two below .500.
OK, go ahead and look.
The Orioles raised their outfield assist total to 20, tops in the majors, with two in the second inning.
“That’s probably the key inning, probably as key as anything,” Showalter said.
“It was funny. Delmon (Young) came in and I said, ‘Delmon, it’s your turn now,’ and he said, ‘No, they’re trying to catch me.’ That was impressive. I thought the play Adam (Jones) made in right-center field was about as good as you want to see. He’s something.”
Jones was a human highlight reel with his assist and two catches in right-center field that robbed Mookie Betts. The last was a beauty as Jones made a diving grab, his body fully extended.
“He doesn’t cede anything. ‘Here’s a ball over my head and that’s a double. Now let me get to a place where if it comes off clean I’ve got a play.’ He doesn’t cede anything,” Showalter said.
“It’s infectious. Just like J.J. (Hardy) is, as hard as he works. You guys see him in BP every day and the things he does. It’s infectious. Like Manny (Machado) on the tough double play to Ryan (Flaherty). We’ve had a lot of different second basemen there, but he knows he can hurry with that throw because Ryan can make it. That’s a tough double play to turn with a fast runner.”
The defense is back in peak form.
“That’s hard to do, OK?” Showalter said. “That’s something that, you’ve got to have a lot of pride to do it because there’s a lot of things you have to do that never get noticed to be good at it.
“I was looking at the ball Travis (Snider) threw the guy out at second. Delmon’s 30 feet behind second base for the overthrow. Those are things that you know that they get it. It’s what they want to be about. There’s a lot of coaches that talk about that, but it’s about what the players want to be about, and they take a lot of pride in it.”
Pitching and defense remain the formula that Showalter seeks each night his team takes the field.
“It’s something we weren’t consistent with and we have been lately,” he said. “That’s where a lot of confidence gets. It can be a real momentum swing against another team when you center some balls up and they stay in the park and you still get outs. Obviously, it’s something we’re capable of.”
Wei-Yin Chen won for the first time since May 9 in New York and earned his first home victory since Sept. 15, 2014. He threw 91 pitches in five-plus innings and was charged with two runs.
“Where they were in the batting order had a lot to do with it, Tommy’s rest and Darren’s rest and (Brad) Brach’s rest,” Showalter said. “I thought he had probably his best slider of the year. He had late life on that, bite, got deep in the box a lot. That’s probably as good a breaking ball as he’s had. And they squared some balls up that we made good plays on.”
Update: According to STATS, the last team with back-to-back outfield assists in the same inning was the Braves on May 10 versus the Nationals. The last time the Orioles accomplished the feat was July 18, 2009 in Chicago with Nick Markakis and Nolan Reimold.
In his last 21 appearances, O’Day is 2-0 with two saves and a 0.90 ERA in 20 innings. Tonight marked his longest career save in terms of innings.