With Toronto’s win over Boston tonight, the Orioles have moved back into a first-place tie with the Red Sox atop the American League East. The Orioles actually have the edge via winning percentage at .585 to .582.
The Orioles offense is starting to hum along right now. They’ve scored 31 runs the last three games and tonight rallied for a 6-5 win over the New York Yankees.
Now we find out a little more about the pitching staff. At a time when the rotation has produced one quality start the last nine games, the bullpen will be without Darren O’Day for at least 15 days. He went on the disabled list before tonight’s game with a right hamstring strain.
On the first day without him, the bullpen recorded 3 1/3 scoreless innings tonight and protected a late one-run lead. Mychal Givens got the victory by recording four outs and improved to 5-0. Zach Britton got his 16th save in 16 chances and talked about the ‘pen trying to keep it rolling without O’Day.
“We talked to Darren before the game and obviously he’s disappointed,” Britton said. “But I think we have a deeper bullpen than I can remember having. We knew guys would have to step up. T.J. (McFarland) and Mychal did a good job. I didn’t have any doubt they would. We just tried to stay in the same mindset that we’ve had all season long and pick up Darren.
“We can get this covered with what we have here in the big leagues and we have a pretty good Triple-A bullpen, too. So we have enough guys to make it work for awhile.”
Is Britton hopeful that O’Day can return as soon as he eligible to do so?
“Absolutely. He didn’t tell me a timetable,” Britton said. “I think he is going to go day-by-day and see how he feels. Our biggest thing is, hey, don’t rush it. You are more important us fully healthy as long as it takes. If it takes a week, two weeks, who knows? We have a really good training staff and when I was down for a while, they did a really good job getting me back quick. I know they will do everything in their power to get him back as soon as possible.”
Givens got four outs for the win and is 5-0 with a 2.05 ERA. He was asked about the ‘pen pitching without O’Day.
“It (stinks) right now to not have Darren,” he said. “He is a big contributor, a leader and always keeps the bullpen loose. We are just going to try and pick him right now and wait until he gets back. We have a really good bullpen. Having Darren down, he is still there with us, always keeping us loose. We have Zach and Brad (Brach) doing what they are doing, too.”
After pitching two innings last night, Givens was called on in the seventh tonight.
“It was good, just bouncing back. To throw today was really good, especially just going in the game facing A-Rod (Alex Rodriguez) again. Looked to get ahead and stay ahead out there.”
Here are more quotes from the clubhouse:
Chris Tillman on allowing three more home runs: “Just started falling behind. Anytime you are trying to make pitches from behind in the count, guys are going to make you pay when you start missing over the plate. It normally doesn’t work out in your favor. Hitters can sit on one pitch and one spot and a put alot of good swings on the ball. Pretty poor execution with my off-speed tonight and that hurt me. If you are not throwing your off-speed for strikes, you have to throw something for strikes. Trying to get back in the count all the time with a fastball, it doesn’t work. When you are ahead, it’s a great pitch. When you are behind, not so much.”
Hyun Soo Kim on his hit against Dellin Betances in the seventh: “I talked to the hitting coach, Scott Coolbaugh, and he said he can’t just fall behind. Make sure I hit before I fall behind. Make sure to hit either a curveball or a fastball, so I made the decision to hit the fastball. There is no doubt we could come back. That is what baseball is.”
Matt Wieters on Tillman’s fourth inning: “It was something where, we hadn’t really had to break out the changeup and we kind of wanted to get it going. Just didn’t quite have it that fourth inning and we got behind in some hitter’s counts. It is a pitch that he is so good with but it took longer tonight and that kind of backed him into a corner.”
Wieters on the offense coming from behind three straight games: “We know the starters are going to get better. But that is why we are a team. It doesn’t matter how we win, just that we win. Nobody in this clubhouse has an ego about who wants to win the game. It’s win the game. That is the great thing about this team. The starters carried us earlier in the year and they’ll get back going again.”