Is bullpen best for Brooks?

Let’s take another shot this morning at addressing one of the litany of questions facing the Orioles before opening day 2020.

Funny how so many of them lead to the pitching staff, whether it’s the rotation or bullpen.

What should the Orioles do with Aaron Brooks?

The numbers make the decision appear to be simple. He’s been much more effective as a reliever than as a starter, and the Orioles need to improve in both areas.

The Orioles claimed Brooks off waivers from the Athletics on July 6, which began to set this eventual discussion in motion.

Brooks-Delivers-Front-at-DET-Black-Sidebar.jpgThe right-hander established career highs this season in games (29), starts (18), innings pitched (110), strikeouts (82) and wins (six). He hadn’t appeared in more than 13 games.

Important numbers to digest, at least for the sake of this argument, come within his splits.

Brooks registered a 6.59 ERA and 1.561 WHIP this summer in 18 starts and he owns a career 6.94 ERA and 1.595 WHIP in 28 starts - eight of them falling in the quality category.

Brooks had a 2.89 ERA and 0.857 WHIP with six walks and 23 strikeouts in 28 innings over 11 relief appearances. He turned in six outings with the Athletics in June and posted a 2.77 ERA, his lowest in any month this season.

In 19 career relief appearances. Brooks has registered a 4.99 ERA and 1.210 WHIP over 39 2/3 innings. They don’t sparkle, but it’s an improvement.

Nothing jumps out about Brooks with the same length as his Sept. 20 outing against the Mariners, when he followed opener Richard Bleier in the third inning and covered the rest of the game with only one run and one hit allowed.

The Orioles should display Brooks in the bulk aisle.

Also worth considering is how Brooks allowed 22 runs in the first inning this season, easily his highest in any frame.

Brooks needs to work on his ability to put out fires. He held opponents to a .240 average with nobody on base, but they hit .323 with runners on base and .361 with runners in scoring position.

The .361 average with RISP ranked as the highest in the majors with a minimum 110 batters faced.

* The Cubs found a new manager yesterday in former catcher David Ross. The Angels brought back Joe Maddon, a long-time coach in the organization prior to taking the Rays job.

Six more teams need to hire a manager.

No one has interviewed former Orioles bench coach John Russell.

Russell never is mentioned as a candidate, again leaving one to speculate that his 186-299 record in three seasons in Pittsburgh left an indelible mark. One that came during a rebuild process. The dirty work creating a huge stain.

Former Orioles manager Buck Showalter used to push for Russell to receive another chance. It never happened.

Russell also was denied another coaching job after the Orioles cleaned house following the 2018 season. He’s working as technical director at the IMG Academy near his Bradenton, Fla. home.

Bobby Dickerson never got a shot at managing in the majors, something he’s done in the minors and currently is doing again in Mexico.

The former Orioles third base coach and infield instructor spent the 2019 season with the Phillies as their infield coach.

* The Surprise Saguaros, with seven players from the Orioles organization, qualified for Saturday afternoon’s Arizona Fall League championship game against the Salt River Rafters.

The game will air on MLB.com beginning at 2 p.m.

Pitchers Cody Carroll, Dean Kremer, David Lebron and Alex Wells, infielders Rylan Bannon and Mason McCoy, outfielder T.J. Nichting, coach Kyle Moore and athletic trainer Marty Brinker are included on the Surprise roster.

Outfielder Austin Hays was supposed to join the Saguaros before the Orioles recalled him last month and got him the necessary at-bats that were missing.

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