Orioles manager Brandon Hyde must get creative again with his rotation, with today’s off-day perhaps making the task a little easier. And an expanded roster could come into play.
Asher Wojciechowski is expected to be pushed back before his next start due to fatigue. Wojciechowski was charged with four runs yesterday in only two innings and has posted a 7.05 ERA in his last eight starts.
“I just thought today he was really battling himself and thinking I’d give him a little bit of a breather,” Hyde said.
The question is how he’s going to do it. Left-hander Ty Blach starts Tuesday night against the Dodgers, followed by John Means and Dylan Bundy. Aaron Brooks would be lined up to start Friday night in Detroit.
Wojciechowski insisted yesterday that he isn’t injured. But he’s logged 151 2/3 innings this year, including the minors, and hasn’t reach such statistical heights since throwing 160 at Double-A and Triple-A in 2013.
“I’m starting to feel it, but it’s my job to pitch these amount of innings,” he said. “But I’d say for the last few weeks, definitely feeling the effects of it. You can see the life on my fastball, the sharpness of my pitches, but I’ve got to be able to find a way and get through it.”
Wojciechowski’s four-seam fastball averaged 93.32 mph in a July 12 start, according to brooksbaseball.net, and sat at a season-low 91.10 yesterday. His slider was a season-low 79.76 mph. And he isn’t getting the same movement on his pitches.
* Hyde didn’t call upon Hunter Harvey in the four-game series against the Rangers that followed an off-day. Harvey hasn’t pitched since striking out the only batter he faced last Monday at Tropicana Field.
He wasn’t used in the following day’s doubleheader, with Hyde refusing to go back-to-back with him.
The Orioles have a set innings limit for Harvey that isn’t shared with the world. He’s logged 81 between two minor league levels and the Orioles, his highest total since working 87 2/3 with Single-A Delmarva in 2014.
Hyde said that Harvey “should be OK” for the Dodgers series, which probably raised a few eyebrows. Why wouldn’t he be OK?
Perhaps Hyde can elaborate on Tuesday.
Austin Wynns was impressed by Harvey while down at Triple-A Norfolk. The arm and the attitude.
“Oh, man, he went about his business every day like, ‘All right, I’m ready to go. Whatever you need me to do.’ And that’s awesome. Shows he’s a gamer. When things are on the line, put him in and he’ll give you everything he has,” Wynns said.
“Harvey has a rocket arm, three electric pitches. I haven’t looked if he uses his splitter and curveball as much. I don’t know the splits. But his heater is definitely special and he can pinpoint that thing everywhere. There’s obviously been a lot of attention on him because he’s a big asset to this team and what the future has.”
* Gary Kendall spent eight seasons as Double-A Bowie manager before moving up this summer to Norfolk. He’s joined the Orioles’ coaching staff for a few weeks while the Baysox try to win their second Eastern League championship.
This one without Kendall.
Buck Britton, older brother of former Orioles closer Zack Britton, is managing Bowie after getting his first opportunity last summer with Delmarva.
“That’s awesome,” Kendall said. “First of all, I think the world off Buck Britton. He was a player of mine. I had him at Aberdeen and I had him in Bowie. And Kennie Steenstra is like a brother to me. I mean, we were together way back. And (hitting coach) Keith Bodie. They all did a great job there and so happy for them, and hopefully they can win three more games in Trenton to win the championship.
“What I really liked was the players that came to us were very prepared and it really helped us. We got a couple guys toward the end that helped us have a really good month of August. Dillon Tate and there were others. Rylan Bannon, who really came up and provided us with a spark. Hunter Harvey really turned the corner with his command of his pitches and how he located.
“They just did a tremendous job of preparing these guys to come up here or go to Norfolk.”
Like so many others working in the minors, Kendall has a contract that expires after Oct. 31 and he’s unsure of his future. He’s been in the organization for 20 years.
“All you can do is your job. You do your job to the best of your ability and hope that they like the job that you’ve done,” said Kendall, a graduate of Sparrows Point High School who is Bowie’s all-time leader in wins with 570.
“I’ve had a wonderful, wonderful situation here with the Orioles and hopefully there’s years to come. I like what’s going on here. The trend is up. As you see from the draft and the players that have been coming through the system, there’s more talent, there’s more ability and I’m just hoping that I’m around.
“You just never know in this game, but I’m very appreciative of everything the Orioles have given me and my family.”
* Cedric Mullins went 5-for-6 and hit for the cycle in Bowie’s series-clinching win in Harrisburg, Pa. It’s been quite a drop from opening day center fielder with the Orioles, but Mullins is determined to make a contribution.
The replacement for Adam Jones in center, Mullins was 6-for-64 with the Orioles before they optioned him to Norfolk. The reset didn’t take hold, with Mullins slashing .205/.272/.306 in 66 games with the Tides.
It began to get better in Bowie. Mullins finally heated up and slashed .271/.341/.402 in 51 games.
“He really struggled with off-speed pitches and that’s how they pitched him. He didn’t see a whole lot of fastballs and when he did they were up and out of the strike zone,” Kendall said.
“He was just a little, I’m not saying a loss of confidence, but he wasn’t the same as he was on the way up when I had him at Bowie. And hopefully with that change of scenery ... Because he didn’t really get it going with us, which was really unfortunate because it was a perfect setting for him to go down there and work on some of the things he needed to work on to hopefully get back here this year. But he wasn’t the same confident kid that he was on the way up that I saw several years ago.
“He really struggled with changing speeds and making in-game adjustments. With going down to Bowie, it seems like he’s gotten some things together and hopefully there’s some of those things he needed to change that he’s going to be able to change and he’s right back up here again.”