The Orioles begin to feel better about their rotation and bullpen and inevitably are thrown a curve.
They’re caught looking at another predicament.
They won’t get Alex Cobb back in the mix because he’s set to undergo season-ending hip surgery this week. Andrew Cashner has been scratched from Friday night’s series opener against the Red Sox due to a blister on his right middle finger.
Five straight quality starts on the last road trip, as well as the good vibes attached to them, won’t carry through the entire summer.
Gabriel Ynoa is in position to stay in the rotation rather than make a guest appearance, with tonight marking his fourth start since Memorial Day. It’s pretty much up to him. Be good and he won’t be bothered.
Cavan Biggio homered off Ynoa in the second inning, the Blue Jays turned three singles into another run in the third and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. led off the sixth by clearing the center field fence and breaking a tie. Ynoa was done, the bullpen imploded and the Orioles failed again to claim a series with a 12-3 loss before an announced crowd of 14,910 at Camden Yards.
The Orioles have dropped the rubber game in six consecutive series and are 21-47 overall and 9-25 at home.
Ynoa trended in the right direction in his previous starts by working four, five and six innings. He faced only one batter in the sixth tonight, with his 92nd pitch producing the 131st home run surrendered by the Orioles this season.
The 132nd came off Biggio’s bat in the seventh after Josh Lucas entered a 9-2 game. Lucas allowed three runs to give the Jays a season-high 12. The 17 hits matched their highest total.
Left-hander Paul Fry replaced Ynoa, who allowed three runs and seven hits in five-plus innings with no walks and one strikeout. Ynoa retired seven of eight batters prior to facing Gurriel again.
The Jays kept pouring it on, sending 12 batters to the plate in the sixth and tallying seven runs for a 9-2 lead. Five runs were charged to Fry, whose back-to-back walks preceded Freddy Galvis’ two-run double and Danny Jansen’s two-run single. Fry retired only one batter.
Evan Phillips gave up RBI singles to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Justin Smoak. Guerrero had his fifth career three-hit game and second in two nights.
A bullpen that had become trustworthy showed more cracks the past two nights. Tonight’s damage included nine runs and 10 hits with four walks in four innings.
Biggio reached the flag court in right field with two outs in the second inning. The last two singles in the third, by Guerrero and Gurriel, were lazy fly balls that found grass.
The tying run scored in the fifth inning when Chris Davis led off with a single and came home on Santander’s third hit of the night. The Orioles stranded two runners in scoring position and the Jays erupted.
A 32-minute rain delay before first pitch turned into the most entertaining part of the night for the Orioles, who did get an eighth inning home run from Chance Sisco to bring cheers from the remaining crowd.
Cashner’s replacement will be revealed after tonight’s game. The Orioles could use Dylan Bundy on normal rest rather than hold him back until Saturday. Dan Straily also is an option after throwing 31 pitches last night in relief.
Luis Ortiz is supposed to start Friday night at Triple-A Norfolk, but he’s 2-6 with a 7.01 ERA and 1.63 WHIP in 52 2/3 innings.
Eshelman can present himself as an option, as executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias indicated a few days ago while discussing his reasoning behind trading international signing bonus slots to the Phillies for the right-hander.
Update: Hyde hasn’t picked a starter for Friday night against the Red Sox. Roster moves might be in the works because he said it no longer can be a bullpen game.
Bundy isn’t under consideration because he had an extended bullpen session yesterday.
“Didn’t want to rush him back,” Hyde said.
Hyde also said Cashner likely will avoid the injured list.
“I think it’s just going to be a few days. I don’t think it’s going to be long,” Hyde said.
“We were hoping it was going to get better, and it just didn’t feel right today, so we made a kind of last-second decision today at some point to push him back a few days. We need a starter for tomorrow, which was possibly going to be a bullpen day, but the way the game turned out tonight it’s not a possibility. So we are where we are.”
Hyde on bullpen tonight: “Working behind the count, didn’t throw the ball very well out of the ‘pen tonight. There were, obviously, a few guys I didn’t want to use and if we were losing. Lucas had to suck it up for three innings. We’ve got issues for tomorrow. Cashner has the blister, so now we’re going to have a spot starter tomorrow and probably make some moves tomorrow or tonight.”
Ynoa (via translator) on outing: “It’s not what I was expecting. I tried to go longer, to pitch better, but I think I left the game pretty close.”
Ynoa on whether he’s earning more starts: “That is my main goal. One step at a time, one day at a time. Hopefully, I can establish myself in the rotation. But we’ll see.”
Ynoa on game getting out of hand: “Unfortunately, those are things that happen. It was unexpected. Nobody can control that.”
Davis on hit: “It felt so good. Obviously, I’m making some adjustments and trying to do it on the fly and apply it in-game, which is, as you can tell, quite tough. But yeah, it felt good to get on base and kind of get a rally started and make Stroman work a little. Obviously, he was tough tonight, but it was nice to be part of the action for once.”
Davis on whether players discuss streak of losing rubber games: “Not a lot. There’s frustration. Everybody’s clearly frustrated, but we know the position we’re in. We have to focus on the positives. There are things that we’re trying to accomplish that are going to take time, they’re going to take work. It’s going to be bumpy from time to time, but we know in the end that there are better days ahead, and that’s just the focus that we’ve had as a team and kind of the focus we’re trying to maintain.”
Davis on whether team has improved: “There’s no doubt, and I think that’s the way you have to look at it. I thought we played well in two tough environments against two good teams, and that’s positive. We come back home in front of our own fans, and you want to go out and win games. We feel like we’re getting some momentum building and then we have a night like we did tonight. Like I said, it’s going to be a bumpy road, but as long as we’re headed in the right direction and doing something every night, in whatever facet that is, and improving, then you’ve got to hang your hat on that.”
Davis on how he’s feeling health-wise and at plate: “Health-wise, I felt pretty good. I felt like I’m as close to 100 percent as you can be right now. And like I said, I’m trying to make adjustments right now. I understand that I haven’t produced even close to where I’m capable of, and at some point you just get tired of going out and doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. So we pretty much scraped everything and started back at square one, and that’s where I’m headed now. It’s encouraging every day to have something to look forward to to work toward that’s different, so I’m trying to keep my focus on that.”