The Orioles begin a stretch tonight of playing 20 games in a row before the next off-day on May 30 that divides a homestand consisting of series against the Tigers and Giants.
Manager Brandon Hyde hasn’t made any firm decisions regarding changes to his rotation to accommodate the heavier workload.
Hyde had toyed with the idea of using six starters, but Alex Cobb is on the injured list again. Dan Straily, Dylan Bundy and John Means are taking the mound against the Angels this weekend, and David Hess and Andrew Cashner will open the series in New York that begins Monday night.
Straily is lined up to close out the series on Wednesday before the Orioles fly to Cleveland.
“I think we’re going to see how it goes, play it by ear,” Hyde said. “We’re hoping that our starters can do what Cash did the other night and give us some length. It’s wait and see right now.”
Other starter candidates would appear to be Gabriel Ynoa and Yefry Ramirez due to their past experience in the role and ability to consume innings. The Orioles also could revert back to using an opener.
The rotation has produced quality starts in three of the last four games with a 1.85 ERA over that stretch. Hyde thinks it can become contagious - without the tissues and spreading of germs.
“I think guys feed off each other and guys are competing within the room,” Hyde said. “Guy goes out and gives six or seven innings the night before, you want to do the same thing the next night or better. That’s what a winning environment is that’s what we’re hoping for, is that guys try to outdo each other. So, hopefully, Dan tries to outdo what Cash did the other night.”
Cashner allowed one run over six innings and ended up with a no-decision after the Orioles finally managed a hit, and later a run, off Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale. Jackie Bradley Jr. robbed Trey Mancini of a walk-off home run in the 11th and Andrew Benintendi homered off Ramirez in the 12th for a 2-1 win.
How long did it take Hyde to stop replaying in his head Bradley’s spectacular grab over the bullpen?
“I think I was over it last night,” he said. “Teed it up yesterday on the golf course, so that helped me out.
“That was just a phenomenal play. Great player makes a great play.”
Renato Núñez is the designated hitter again tonight, with only four starts at first base and none at third.
Núñez had a biceps injury in spring training that kept him off the field and hastened his move to the DH role. He’s fine now, Hyde said.
“I just feel really comfortable with, Rio (Ruiz) is playing great, and (Hanser) Alberto, when he’s gone over there he’s playing great,” Hyde said. “I feel like we have two guys that are handling it really well and right now that’s who we’re going with. But yeah, Noonie’s healthy, but we’re going with two other guys right now.”
Rain continues to fall at Camden Yards with varying degrees of intensity - it’s very light at the moment - and batting practice has been canceled. The Angels don’t come back to Baltimore after this series and a postponement tonight might force a doubleheader on Saturday, but the Orioles will keep looking for windows to play.
There’s a sense that they’ll be able to start on time, but the weather is temperamental and that’s especially true this close to the water. Or so we’re told.
Hyde and pitching coach Doug Brocail will monitor the situation before deciding when to send Straily to the bullpen to warm up.
“You reconvene,” Hyde said. “We’ll talk here probably 5:30, then we’ll talk probably close to game time. But we won’t have our starter ... Ideally you don’t want him to go out there at 6:30 when there’s a possibility of a delay, so that’s kind of up to a lot of people in the room to decide on what we’re going to do for a start time.
“Once we decide a start time, then Dan’s in his routine and he gets going. That’s a process that takes place well before 7.”
Hyde indicated that using an opener tonight with the possibility of an in-game delay is under consideration.
“We’ve talked about it,” he said. “I don’t know. That’s a game time decision for me.”
Blaine Knight, the Orioles’ third-round pick last year out of the University of Arkansas, has been promoted to Single-A Frederick and is starting tonight against Fayetteville.
Knight was 3-0 with a 0.68 ERA and 0.56 WHIP in five starts with low Class-A Delmarva. He allowed only two runs and 11 hits, walked four batters and struck out 33 in 26 2/3 innings, and South Atlantic League opponents batted .125.
Update: Mancini homered off Trevor Cahill in the first inning for a 1-0 lead.
Update II: Kole Calhoun tripled in the second to score Adrelton Simmons and tie the game.
Update III: Mike Trout’s two-run homer in the third gave the Angels a 3-1 lead.
Update V: Straily was charged with six runs in 4 1/3 innings. Evan Phillips let two inherited runners score in the fifth and two of his own to increase the Angels’ lead to 8-2.