A relief outing that stretches over 4 1/3 innings and requires 82 pitches has been known to punch a ticket back to the minors. Left-hander Josh Rogers wondered if he’d be packing his bags again, saving the bullpen last night leading to his removal from it.
Rogers is, indeed, coming out of the Orioles bullpen, but only to join the rotation and make Wednesday night’s start in Oakland.
Manager Brandon Hyde informed Rogers of his decision earlier today. The media didn’t find out until later.
What Rogers did last night in a 13-2 loss doesn’t come with an official statistic. He won’t get a save from sparing Hyde another trip to the mound and perhaps forcing a position player to pitch. There isn’t a hold awarded for limiting the Red Sox to only two runs when they seemed motivated to set a record.
“I was just trying to come in and put some zeros up and try to save the bullpen as much as I could last night,” Rogers said.
“I think I pitched all right and tried to attack the zone. A couple walks there, but all in all I got through the game.”
Rogers was summoned as the Red Sox were unloading on veteran Dan Straily, hitting three of their four home runs off him in the fifth inning. There’s walking into the lion’s den and then there’s wearing a steak around your neck while doing it.
The bloodshed was minimal. Andrew Benintendi had a two-run single off Rogers in the sixth and the Red Sox were quiet over the last three innings.
“I’ve been scuffling all year,” Rogers said. “I had two decent starts down in Triple-A before I got called up, so I kind of had a little bit of momentum.
“Personally, I was just trying to really attack the zone and try to string a good outing together. My level of focus was like it was a 0-0 ballgame, just for me, and I think it was the right way to approach it, especially in a ballgame like that.
“This is the first time I’ve thrown to Sevie (Pedro Severino) and we were on the same page from the get-go. It was good and I was glad to help the bullpen out and I hope we can turn it around today.”
Rogers was toting an 8.51 ERA and 1.75 WHIP in 11 starts with Norfolk and opponents were batting .357. He held Columbus to two runs over six innings in his last outing.
“I was just throwing the ball down the middle. It’s just as simple as that,” he said.
“I was throwing too many strikes, not enough quality strikes. I’d be getting in good counts - 0-2, 1-2, and winning 1-1 counts to get to the 1-2 - and then the two-strike pitch was just no good. Leaving hanging breaking balls or throwing fastballs trying to get in and leaving them over the plate and they were just getting hit all over the place. I had given up a ton of home runs (18) and it was a real difficult month, month and a half there, but I just tried to keep going and keep going and keep going and just try to get better and string some good ones together.
“I feel much better now. I’m in a good spot and I feel confident out there.”
The stress for Rogers came from knowing that the Orioles needed a starter and he wasn’t deserving of a chance. An opportunity hung like one of his breaking balls, but he couldn’t get to it.
“I think it would be a lie to say it’s not checking the box score to see what’s going on up here to have that opportunity. But putting a little added pressure on yourself down there, when really in the grand scheme of things I can’t control any of that,” he said.
“(Andrew) Cashner called me and we talked about that kind of stuff. I’ve just got to take care of what I can take care of down there and if I throw a no-hitter or I give up 10 runs, I’m not going to get myself called up. It is what it is. The timing of things and how everything works out.
“I was fortunate enough to get called up the other night with a taxed ‘pen. I was just happy to help them out.”
Update: The Red Sox took a 3-0 lead in the top of the sixth after the first four batters reached against Dylan Bundy. Two of the three runs were earned. But the Orioles scored twice off Chris Sale in the bottom half on Renato Núñez’s RBI double and Jonathan Villar’s sacrifice fly.
Update II: J.D. Martinez homered off Richard Bleier in the seventh to give the Red Sox a 4-2 lead.