Asked whether he might tweak his rotation by skipping a starter due to Thursday’s off-day, Showalter replied, “Are you talking about Jiménez?”
Well, as long as you mention him ...
“You brought it up, really, because that’s where we’re going,” Showalter said. “I’m going to give these guys the extra day with the off-day. Any chance we get, especially with Dylan (Bundy) and Gaus (Kevin Gausman). Jiménez’s next start is on Sunday and we’ll see what happens when we get there.
“That’s when he’s scheduled to start again. We’ll take each day as it comes and see where we are as a pitching staff after each outing.”
What about putting Jiménez in the bullpen now as an extra reliever before a decision is made on his turn?
“No, if that was the case he couldn’t pitch there for two or three days, at least. Maybe four,” Showalter replied. “That decision one way or the other hasn’t been made.”
Alec Asher would seem to be the leading candidate to replace Jiménez if the Orioles pull the veteran right-hander from the rotation, though he has been working mainly in late-inning relief and it raises questions about how far he could go in a start. And this could be one of those examples where Showalter doesn’t want to, as he says, rob Peter to pay Paul.
“That would obviously jump to the conclusion that we needed one for Sunday, so I’m going to be careful with that. But some people might think we do,” Showalter said, still careful not to give the impression that he’s looking to replace Jiménez.
“I don’t think on the surface that he’s not that far removed from extended outings. Probably wouldn’t be normal length if you went there, but I also think he’s shown the ability to serve a need in our bullpen with Zach (Britton) being down. There’s some different challenges in our bullpen with Zach out that you need to have an optionable bullpen, you need to have some versatility down there and some guys that can pitch physically more than once every four days down there “
The Orioles recalled left-hander Jayson Aquino earlier today from Triple-A Norfolk and he’s also a candidate to start Sunday if Jiménez is removed. He’s available in relief tonight, with Stefan Crichton optioned to the Tides.
“We talked about it,” Showalter said. “We needed some length tonight and an arm. Crichton’s down for two or three days. The question was whether it was one or two, but I think Tyler (Wilson) could give us an inning tonight if we need it. He only threw 30 pitches after five or six days off. We talked about that possibility, too. But Aquino was most equipped to give us some length tonight.
“The problem with length is, will the other team cooperate and let you pitch long? One is having the ability to throw multiple innings, but you can’t get them out, you can’t pitch multiple innings.”
Jordan Kipper is starting for Norfolk tonight, which would put him on normal rest Sunday. Left-hander Chris Lee is the Tides’ scheduled starter on Wednesday. If he’s scratched, he becomes a candidate to be recalled.
The Orioles want to keep Lee at Norfolk and let him build some momentum, but he appears to be doing exactly that by allowing five earned runs combined in his last three starts over 17 1/3 innings.
Mike Wright has allowed two earned runs or fewer in his last five starts to lower his ERA to 4.13 in 48 innings.
“Had a good outing last time, pretty good,” Showalter said. “Velocity’s good, stuff’s good. Just has that one inning where his command kind of leaves him a little bit, but at that level he’s competing, doing well. He’s made some strides.”
Reading between the lines, it sounds like the Orioles want to keep him at Norfolk.
Gabriel Ynoa isn’t available because the Orioles optioned him yesterday and he needs to pitch at Norfolk.
The Tides made a series of moves today. They transferred outfielder Michael Bourn to short-season Single-A Aberdeen’s roster, activated outfielder Chris Dickerson from the disabled list and activated pitcher Logan Verrett from the temporarily inactive list. Infielder Sharlon Schoop moved up from Double-A Bowie to Norfolk.
Update: Dylan Bundy blinked first tonight.
The Twins broke a scoreless tie in the fifth inning with Byron Buxton’s RBI single after a leadoff walk and single. Bundy retired the next three batters, two on strikeouts, to limit the damage.
Ervin Santana has held the Orioles to two hits and two walks in five innings.
Update II: Brian Dozier homered off Bundy with two outs in the seventh to give the Twins a 2-0 lead.
Bundy registered his ninth quality start. He allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings, with three walks and seven strikeouts.
Santana is working on a two-hit shutout through the eighth.