Despaigne was set to stay for only one game if he needed to work multiple innings, and it became necessary after starter Chris Tillman failed to get an out in the third.
A corresponding move will be announced Sunday morning. Manager Buck Showalter noted the challenge of getting a pitcher to Camden Yards with Triple-A Norfolk busing back from Durham, but he said, “We’ve obviously got some plans in place.”
I’ll repeat that Parker Bridwell is a possibility. We’ll see.
Despaigne allowed four runs and five hits and threw 71 pitches in his three innings. Tillman raised his ERA and more concerns about his shoulder after being charged with six runs and six hits, with five walks and no strikeouts, in two-plus innings.
Tillman told reporters that his shoulder felt fine, the same message he passed along to Showalter.
“That’s the good news,” Showalter said after his club fell to 1-4 on the homestand and 2 1/2 games behind the first-place Blue Jays in the American League East. “I think we talk a lot in here about players and pitchers, take them out of a routine. I think he was rusty more than anything. I was talking to him some afterward. You saw his velocity kick up after the first inning. Really toward the end of the first inning. Just command.
“I think you take eight or nine days off in between, I think that was it more than anything. We’ll wait and see how he feels tomorrow, but a lot of guys might use the other one as an excuse. I talked to him afterward. He said it felt good, just felt rusty. Didn’t have much feel for it.”
Showalter trusts Tillman to be truthful, no matter how hard it is to say three times fast.
“Chris has come a long way in his baseball maturity,” Showalter said. “He’s not going to do anything to hurt the club. I trust his honesty with us. I’d like to think I know him well enough with the look in his eye. He doesn’t BS us anymore. He knows how important these game are.
“I expect him to have a good outing next time out and feel good tomorrow. A lot of people would jump on that excuse. Chris is not one of these guys.”
The low point may have come in the ninth inning with infielder Ryan Flaherty needed in relief. Making his first appearance on the mound since high school, he allowed two runs and three hits but didn’t walk a batter. Twelve of his 19 pitches were strikes.
“I was hoping Despaigne could get us a little deeper, but he couldn’t,” Showalter said. “It’s a tough game to manage because you’re sitting there trying to figure out when to do a lot of things. You start mapping it out before the game starts if there’s an early exit and we were hoping we were going to have enough.
“I was not going to use Worley or obviously Jimenez today. He’s two or three days down after he pitches, but Vance hopefully will be OK tomorrow. Obviously, we’ll have to make at least one pitching move.
“We didn’t want to do it with J.J. (Hardy). He’s playing tomorrow, and I knew Ryan wouldn’t start tomorrow with a left-handed starter. I had some options. I didn’t think it was fair to Pete (Pedro Alvarez). I thought about that with the DH.
“I think J.J. wanted to. One of those things you want to do until you get out there. But I don’t like it period, but what are you going to do? I started looking at options about four innings earlier because I knew we had a chance to get there.”
The Orioles didn’t have much of a chance to win tonight and a disappointing homestand grew worse.
“It’s tough when you’re getting beat on early on,” Showalter said. “You’re trying to stay away from the certain mentality that can challenge anybody in any walk of life. But we need to do a better job of getting our guys ...
“Nobody clicks on all phases every night. One day you’re hoping your offense is enough to cover some deficiency starting, then it’s something to cover deficiencies in the bullpen, maybe you don’t catch the ball well that night. I can come up with three or four things they didn’t do well, but they did something to overcome them.
“It’s pretty tough to cover that many runs the last two nights. It’s pretty obvious we need to pitch better.”
Next man up.