The hard reality is that manager Buck Showalter doesn’t have a long reliever for tonight’s game if Tillman is knocked out early.
Showalter always considers the what if, such as, “What if Tillman gets hit on the shin by a line drive in the first inning?”
Dylan Bundy appears to be the first choice out of the bullpen. He hasn’t gone more than 2 1/3 innings or thrown more than 43 pitches this season, but he qualifies by Showalter’s definition.
“Bundy will probably be the long guy tonight, which is two or three innings,” Showalter said. “If his pitch count is down, I’d really like to get him a three up at some point.”
Worley filled a specific need last night, but it came at a cost.
“Well, it’s potentially huge,” Showalter said. “Those things are big. Mac (T.J. McFarland) did that job for us, Vance has done that job for us. And I know the intensity of that, but it’s not easy to do. His intensity was better than the opposition. They had 10 runs and they felt good about their chances, but some people don’t pitch with the intensity it takes to do that job.
“I’ve talked about the qualities of a guy who does that job. Vance could start. He can do a lot of things. And this is how your role gets pushed to a better job is doing this job that he’s doing.
“We always ask ourselves before going out on the field, ‘Get hit by a line drive on first pitch, what are we going to do?’ I know Vance, he’s going to say, ‘I’m ready to go.’ What did he throw, 32 pitches in three innings? Brian threw 40-something. I was really hoping to get him a good stretched-out three-inning stint, but it didn’t happen.”
Some important throws took place today before batting practice, with Yovani Gallardo making flat-ground tosses from 120 feet. As I wrote earlier, he’ll stay at 120 on Thursday and throw bullpen sessions Sunday and May 24. His first simulated game is slated for May 27.
“Went good today,” Showalter said. “It’s just a matter of how many sim games he does before he goes out. We should be able to get him far enough in a sim game that he won’t need more than one or two rehab starts.
“He’ll do that Sunday in Anaheim. That’s a 12:35 game, so that bullpen will take place probably about 10:30, somewhere in there.”
Going on back-to-back days at 120 feet is part of the process “and you can’t jump,” Showalter said.
“I know one thing, his arm swing and backspin on the ball, he’s doing some things he couldn’t do before. I’m encouraged about this if we can stay on this schedule.”
Showalter was asked whether he spoke to Matusz following last night’s game, when the left-hander allowed two inherited runners to score and four of his own in 1 2/3 innings.
“I always say something to them,” he replied. “I’ve already talked to Ubaldo. We do. You try to read some things. Timing’s everything. Some guys want to be left alone for a little while. It’s a little different with a reliever. Be right back in there. But I pick my spots. Sometimes, it’s not so much what you say, that you do.
“Everybody’s different. Some people want to be left alone, some people ... These guys get a lot of advice from drive-thru window, the 7-Eleven, their fathers, their coaches in high school, everybody. They get a lot of advice. I think the advice I offer is a little bit different type than mechanical.”
Outfielder Henry Urrutia hasn’t reported to Double-A Bowie after the Orioles moved him down from Triple-A Norfolk earlier this week. The club is aware that he’d prefer to stay at Norfolk and is disappointed with the assignment, but they expect him to report by Friday.
The Orioles obviously would listen if a team wanted to discuss a trade, but they’d like for Urrutia to play the outfield and some first base at Bowie and work his way back up.
Urrutia, 29, was batting .245/.347/.304 with six doubles and 11 RBIs in 102 at-bats with the Tides. He cooled down at the plate and Norfolk, already loaded with outfielders, received Mike Yastrzemski from Bowie in the transaction. Urrutia made only six starts in the outfield.
Urrutia, who received a $778,500 signing bonus in July 2012 after defecting from Cuba, was 5-for-31 in his last 10 games. He’s appeared in 34 games with the Orioles and produced a .272/.287/.337 slash line.
Update: Mark Trumbo and Matt Wieters homered to begin the bottom of the second inning and give the Orioles a 2-0 lead. Trumbo leads the club with 12 homers.
The Orioles have gone back-to-back seven times this season.
Update II: Leonys Martin homered to right field leading off the top of the third, reducing the lead to 2-1.
Tillman retired the side in order on nine pitches in the first and stranded two runners in the second.
Update III: The Mariners tied the game in the fourth and ran Tillman’s pitch count to 75. Nelson Cruz doubled and later scored on Chris Iannetta’s sacrifice fly.
Update IV: The Orioles took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fourth on Trumbo’s one-out single and Wieters’ RBI double.
Update V: The Orioles padded their lead in the fifth on Hyun Soo Kim’s leadoff walk, a throwing error by Taijuan Walker, a two-out walk to Chris Davis and a wild pitch.
Update VI: Zach Britton recorded the last five outs for his 11th save, and the Orioles defeated the Mariners 5-2.
The Orioles scored an insurance run in the eighth on Jonathan Schoop’s sacrifice fly that scored Wieters, who homered and doubled twice for his first three-hit game of the season.
Brittion replaced Brad Brach with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth and got a strikeout and ground ball. He stranded Ketel Marte at third base in the ninth.
Tillman allowed two runs and four hits in 6 1/3 innnigs for his sixth consecutive quality start. No need for a long reliever tonight.