The Orioles return to action tonight against the Detroit Tigers hoping to snap a four-game losing streak. Wade Miley will take the mound and try to get the O’s back on track while also looking to regain his command. Not counting the White Sox start that saw him get nailed with two line drives in the first, the left-hander has walked at least four hitters in his last three starts. To Miley’s credit, he has not allowed more than three earned runs in any of starts this season, but he is definitely walking a fine line by allowing all these hitters to reach base.
The Orioles bullpen continues to struggle and it’s only a matter of time before the team finally returns to having seven relievers. We knew the loss of Zach Britton again would be a major blow, but I was hoping the team wouldn’t start feeling the effects for at least a few weeks. Darren O’Day hasn’t pitched since May 8 as he was dealing with an unknown injury, but it should be noted that he would have been available if the Orioles had a lead in the late innings over the weekend.
The combination of being overworked already (Mychal Givens and Donnie Hart have both appeared in 18 games and Brad Brach has appeared in 19), along with the lack of depth is why the Orioles find themselves in the position they currently are.
The O’s can’t continue to use pitchers like Alec Asher in the late innings and obviously they can’t always use the relievers mentioned above on a nightly basis. Dan Duquette needs to find another late-inning arm that can bridge the gap until Britton finally returns.
The options in Triple-A appear to be Stefan Crichton or Jimmy Yacabonis, who don’t exactly scream confidence. They could dip down into Double-A and promote Tanner Scott who is currently being used as a starter. The other option is obviously outside the organization, but the fact remains, the team needs to do something soon.
This would also mean a position player would get sent out and we can debate all day long on who that should be. I will also mention Michael Bourn is back playing for the Norfolk Tides. The organization could decide that Bourn can do what Hyun-Soo Kim and Craig Gentry can do, but he takes one roster spot instead of two. This would also mean they are committed to playing Trey Mancini everyday.
As always when it comes to the roster, as soon as we think we know, we find out that we don’t.
Machado Needs To Step Up
Outside of hitting three home runs in the Boston Red Sox series to start the month of May, it has been a very pedestrian start to the season for Manny Machado. Here’s the bottom line: Machado is the best player on the team and he should be held to that type of standard. Is that fair? Maybe not, but when players like Mike Trout and Bryce Harper are playing at MVP status once again, and Machado is not, he should be called out for it.
We, and I will lump myself in this, continue to say Machado belongs in the same conversation as those guys and that he will get paid A LOT of money after the 2018 season. He needs to play at a level that is warranted for that conversation.
We’re only 36 games into the season, it can turn around quickly and it can all begin tonight, but it needs to do just that. It should be noted that Machado did struggle in the month of September as well. Here’s to Machado finding the groove that saw him bat .318 with 19 home runs in the first half of last year.