A win tonight for the Orioles would move them within four games of the first-place Yankees in the American League East.
The Mariners defeated the Yankees 4-3 this afternoon. The Rays trail by 3 1/2 games after defeating the Blue Jays, who currently are tied with the Orioles at 4 1/2 games back.
The Orioles’ roster didn’t undergo any changes heading into tonight’s game in Detroit, but another move is on the horizon after manager Buck Showalter confirmed to reporters that Kevin Gausman is starting Wednesday night in the Bronx.
The decision on Gausman was anticipated leading up to the break. All signs pointed to the right-hander, who started twice for Triple-A Norfolk and will be working on normal rest. It just needed to be made official after Showalter dropped some strong hints.
Ubaldo Jimenez can be pushed back to Thursday because the Orioles are off Monday. And yes, having an open date on the schedule three games into the second half defies logic.
I wrote earlier today that Chris Parmelee’s roster spot could be in jeopardy when the Orioles recall Gausman. A position player needs to be removed and he’s 4-for-33 with no home runs or RBIs this month.
Parmelee is out of the lineup tonight, as expected, against Tigers left-hander David Price. He could get another chance to heat up Sunday afternoon against right-hander Justin Verlander, who’s winless in five starts this season but held the Twins to one run over 7 2/3 innings on July 10.
The Tigers’ bullpen gave up seven runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to rob Verlander of the victory. It happens.
Parmelee is 5-for-16 with a home run against Verlander.
Fans keep asking about Dariel Alvarez, who’s swinging a hot bat at Norfolk. The Orioles are keeping a close eye on him, of course, but they’d have to figure out how to create a roster spot.
In 40 games since June 1, Alvarez is batting .335 (55-for-164) with seven home runs and 27 RBIs. Alvarez, 26, ranks among the International League leaders in total bases (first with 160), at-bats (first with 361), hits (second with 102), games (tied for second with 91), home runs (tied for seventh with 13) and RBIs (ninth with 48).
Alvarez has a cannon for an arm, but he’s still refining the rest of his defensive game. The Orioles also would like to see him become more selective at the plate - he’s drawn seven walks in 91 games - and not always be in chase mode. He showed a lot more patience in spring training.
Alvarez is starting in center field tonight, but he’s much better in right.
Chris Tillman, who starts tonight for the Orioles, is 5-0 with a 1.30 ERA and five quality starts in his last seven outings against the American League Central since April 6, 2014. He’s allowed four earned runs over 18 innings in three starts this season.
The Astros designated outfielder Alex Presley for assignment earlier today. The Orioles hold some interest in Presley, viewing him as outfield depth in the minors, so he’s worth monitoring.
Presley was 3-for-12 in eight games with the Astros this season. He batted .308/.345/.392 with 12 doubles, a triple, two home runs and 35 RBIs in 64 games at Triple-A Fresno.
Presley, who bats from the left side, is a career .259/.299/.393 hitter in parts of six major league seasons.