ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - The Orioles made it through last night’s game without calling upon a 47th different player. They managed to get by with the current group, covering nine innings and heading to Toronto for the final series before the All-Star break.
Are 46 players a lot over the course of a season? How about in the first half?
Spoiler alert: The first-half number is a club record. So, yes, it’s a lot.
Consider that the Orioles’ record for a season is 56, set last year as they began to slide down the standings and into their teardown and rebuild phase.
Here’s a list courtesy of the crack research staff at STATS:
Fourteen pitchers have made starts for the Orioles and the total would have reached 15 if it included Shawn Armstrong, who briefly was told over last weekend that he’d get the assignment with a storm approaching. Manager Brandon Hyde didn’t want to send Andrew Cashner to the mound in the first inning, have the game interrupted and lose the veteran for the rest of the day.
The rain came early, Cashner was unscratched, if such a term exists, and Armstrong stayed in the bullpen and didn’t pitch.
Hyde didn’t realize that he’d used 14 starters, matching the 2018 total and tied for most in club history before the break, until Tuesday during the taping of his pregame show on 105.7 The Fan. It created a humorous moment - the expression, the explanation.
“I had no idea what was going to happen this year, to be honest with you,” Hyde said. “It’s not an ideal situation obviously, but it is where we are organizationally and that will improve over the next couple of years, but right now we’re just not in a spot where we roll five starters out there and have a little bit of depth. We are mixing and matching our way through this year and giving a lot of our guys a chance to pitch in the big leagues.”
Injuries are a factor, of course, most notably to veteran Alex Cobb, who lasted only three starts before undergoing hip surgery. The club is fortunate that John Means’ tender shoulder kept him out only for the 10-day period.
David Hess and Dan Straily weren’t able to hold onto their jobs and they’re together now at Triple-A Norfolk. Jimmy Yacabonis was used twice as a pseudo-opener, which really becomes a bullpen game that can deplete the unit.
Nate Karns also opened twice before moving to the bullpen and later the 60-day injured list. He watched Tuesday night’s game from the dugout, taking a break from the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League environment.
How many fans will remember in the coming years that Sean Gilmartin and Yefry Ramirez each made a start this season?
Hyde said Wojciechowski, who’s out of minor league options, is staying in the rotation.
“After the break, we’ll pencil him in there,” Hyde said.
Luis Ortiz was one and done and he’ll need to be much better at Norfolk before the Orioles bring him back, though he wasn’t exactly dominating the International League when they recalled him twice. The options are limited, to say the least.
Josh Rogers had a shot at getting back into the rotation if successful in his long relief role, but his elbow surgery is costing him the rest of the season and a large chunk of 2020.
Thirty Orioles have pitched this season to equal last year’s club record. The number prior to the break obviously is a record.
They haven’t all been pitchers this season. The group includes infielder Hanser Alberto, catcher Jesús Sucre and first baseman Chris Davis.
Where have you gone, Danny Valencia?
Easily forgotten is reliever Pedro Araujo, who allowed two runs in two-thirds of an inning in his only appearance, was designated for assignment and returned to the Cubs and reacquired in a trade on April 5.
That was a busy day. The Orioles also signed Straily and designated Rule 5 infielder Drew Jackson for assignment. Jackson is back to the Dodgers organization.
The Orioles have used 19 position players this season, 32 short of the club record of 51 set in 1955. They used 28 last season, which is tied with the 2000 team for second.