Asher and Jiménez candidates to start Friday (plus other notes)

Orioles manager Buck Showalter indicated today that he’s choosing between Alec Asher and Ubaldo Jiménez to make Friday night’s start against the Red Sox at Camden Yards.

Showalter said the decision will be made Tuesday to let everyone know and prepare accordingly.

“We’ll decide what direction we’re going to go tomorrow, take everything in, see how everybody’s feeling, see how we get through today,” he said. “It’s just been such a quick turnaround. We talked a little bit on the plane last night.”

Pressed to give a number of candidates, Showalter replied, “We’re trying to stay focused on today. You guys can probably figure out who would and wouldn’t. The obvious two are Asher and Ubaldo, but I hadn’t really thought a whole lot yet about any other options. I would be surprised if it didn’t come down to one of those two.

“How’s that for a roundabout question and answer? If I had done that the first time, we wouldn’t have needed a follow-up.”

Ubaldo Jimenez Orange day.jpgAsher disappointed yesterday by lasting only two innings and allowing six runs in the second. Jiménez replaced him and allowed two runs in the third before retiring 16 of the last 18 batters and saving the bullpen.

“I really thought Asher, after the first inning, got the double play and had a shutdown inning, might get going, but his command was really uncharacteristic yesterday,” Showalter said. “He never really established that he could throw the ball where he wanted to after the first inning. It was just the opposite of what we’ve seen so far.

“You’ve got to be careful with making an emotional decision one way or the other too fast. I think you’ve just got to step back and see which way puts our best foot forward.”

I wrote earlier that Adam Jones was scratched from the lineup with soreness in his left ankle and hip. He worked out in the outfield this morning, fielding ground balls.

“Testing out a few guys still,” Showalter said before the change was announced. “I know there’s a lineup up, but we’ll see if that’s the one we start with. Late night and early morning. Wanted to test out a few things before we commit to it.

“There’s such a commitment to have a lineup up, so we’ll start that way and see if we can start the game with that one.”

It didn’t happen. Jones’ removal led to multiple moves, including Chris Davis going from designated hitter to first base.

Davis remains in the lineup despite a 3-for-36 slump in his last nine games that includes 20 strikeouts, 11 of them looking.

Davis is having trouble seeing the ball and identifying pitches, which doesn’t place him in exclusive company. It’s a big club.

“That’s the case with a lot of guys,” Showalter said. “That’s a common thing. Until you’ve been in the box with the type of stuff that these guys face, and even in the minor leagues, I think everybody understands what he’s saying as far as picking location and spin.

“We faced a guy (Lance McCullers) yesterday who threw 58 out of 105 pitches were off-speed pitches. The guy today (Jordan Montgomery) throws less than 50 percent fastballs. It’s something that’s all through the game. There’s a lot of that. It mostly happens with the number of neutral and reverse split guys. You see pitches that you don’t normally see.

“You go through periods where you just don’t feel like the game has slowed down, where you don’t feel like you have time to react instead of cheating on pitches.”

Davis is batting .302/.400/.491 against left-handers in 53 at-bats this season, with two doubles, a triple and two home runs.

“He sees the ball better off them,” Showalter said. “The question is why. That’s what we’re all trying to figure out. He’s not the only one, that’s for sure.”

The Orioles are trying to snap a seven-game losing streak and stay in third place, with the Rays only a half-game behind them. Showalter was asked whether his players might be mentally fatigued, the contributing factors including all the early one-run and extra-inning games.

“That’s true with every club, one of the challenges you go through,” he replied. “It’s convenient and an excuse and we’re always looking for why on both sides of it, when things are showing up well on the scoreboard and when they’re not.

“It’s always a factor and I think everybody’s the same degree of physical challenges and everybody’s got a tale of woe with the schedule or something that they’ve been wronged somehow. That’s part of it. But I think that’s a pretty common denominator with the majority of the clubs that you go through periods where mentally it’s really a challenge to stay strong through it. But everything has a cause and effect when good, too, and sometimes when things are going well it helps you get through those periods.”

The sister-in-law of former Oriole Melvin Mora was murdered in New York City on Friday night and police are searching for her estranged husband.

Iveliss “Evy” Alvarado-Genao, 30, was shot twice at 11:16 p.m. Friday and later was pronounced dead. Police are looking for her estranged husband, Gabino Genao, 30, who reportedly fled after the incident.

Alvarado-Genao, the mother of two daughters, ages 9 and 5, had moved back to New York from Maryland a few months ago. She was shot outside her uncle’s house in Brooklyn.

The family and authorities are asking for anyone who may have information on Genao’s whereabouts to contact 1-800-577-TIPS.

Mora spent 10 of his 13 seasons Orioles and was inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame in 2015. He continues to live in Harford County with his wife Gisel and their six children, including quintuplets born in 2001.

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