Pregame notes on rotation, offense, trade deadline (game update)

ANAHEIM, Calif. - The Orioles concern level continues to remain low with left-handed starter John Means. He went on the 10-day injured list Friday, retroactive to Thursday, with a left bicep strain. He had an MRI yesterday.

“It came back clean. Normal wear and tear. He should be ready to start right after he comes off the IL,” manager Brandon Hyde said.

Eshelman-Delivers-at-LAA-Gray-Sidebar.jpgThe Orioles’ pitching plans for the two-game San Diego series that begins Monday night are very much in flux right now. Although right-hander Tom Eshelman will pitch in the game on Tuesday at some point.

“Tomorrow is TBA,” said Hyde. “The second game, Eshelman will pitch the bulk of the game. We’ll see if he’s going to start or go with an opener. He’s lined up for that but for tomorrow, we are not ready to announce that yet.

“Depending on how today goes, it could be a bullpen day where we start somebody or open somebody here. Might make a (roster) move after the game where we bring a starter in or bring somebody in to pitch the bulk of it. Just not sure yet. We’ll see how today goes.”

Meanwhile the countdown to the trade deadline is on. The O’s play three more games before the July 31 deadline. What if their club looks very differently on Aug. 1?

“I think we’ll handle it fine,” Hyde said. “For me it’s not a secret that things might happen. We’re all prepared for something to happen. If it does, we understand it’s part of the game. Whoever is in our clubhouse after the deadline, we’ll give the same attention to and effort. We’re going to coach. And we’ll continue to have the same vibe in the dugout and clubhouse. We just want whoever is here by that point to step up, play like big leaguers and take advantage of the opportunity.”

The Orioles have had a strong weekend in Anaheim and strong run on offense for 10 games now. In this series, they’ve scored 27 runs on 44 hits. Jonathan Villar went 0-for-15 in Arizona, but here he is 7-for-14 with two homers, four steals, eight runs and three RBIs. Pedro Severino, serving as DH today, is 8-for-13 this series with four RBIs.

Over the last 10 games, where they went 7-3, the Orioles have scored 70 runs, hit .308 and mashed 22 homers. Last night they established an MLB record with 10 consecutive games with two or more home runs.

“It’s funny. Just a couple of weeks ago we were talking about the handful of guys that were in funks and we were having a tough time scoring runs,” said Hyde. “I think I said at the time things can change quickly and it’s part of the game. And it has. Now we’re scoring a bunch of runs and taking really good at-bats. I’ve been impressed with Tony (Anthony) Santander and Jonathan Villar and Severino last night. Great at-bats. Hanser (Alberto) has been doing it all year. Obviously Nunie (Renato Núñez) and (Trey) Mancini have had some huge hits. Lot of really good things offensively.”

Angels lead: Matt Thaiss hit a two-run homer into the right field corner and the Angels took a 2-0 lead on Dylan Bundy and the Orioles in the second inning. It was Thaiss’ third homer in 12 games this season and second in three games in this series.

Villar stays hot: Villar’s RBI double in the third pulled the O’s within one. After going 0-for-15 in Arizona, Villar is 8-for-16 this series with two homers, eight runs, four steals and four RBIs.

O’s rally for the lead: The Orioles scored three in the fifth to lead 4-2. Villar came through again with an RBI single and Mancini’s two-run single to center broke the 2-2 tie. The O’s took advantage of two Angels errors as well. They’ve now scored 31 runs this series.

Tied up now: Albert Pujols’ 650th career homer was a two-run shot in the last of the sixth to tie the game 4-4 and knocked Bundy out. Shawn Armstrong came on. Bundy went five plus allowing seven hits and four runs.

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