Myriad O's thoughts: Miley pitches well before injury; pinch-hitting for Kim; O'Day's return; Brach's vulturing -
Dan Connolly

Myriad O’s thoughts: Miley pitches well before injury; pinch-hitting for Kim; O’Day’s return; Brach’s vulturing

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

This is how baseball is cruel.

Lefty Wade Miley is given the start Sunday against the Tampa Bay Rays despite his struggles since coming to the Orioles in a July trade.

Fans groused about it. I thought it was a bad move in a pennant race, despite Miley’s good career numbers versus the Rays (4-2, 2.81 ERA in eight starts).

But Orioles manager Buck Showalter didn’t consult me. He gave Miley the assignment despite the veteran lefty’s 8.41 ERA in eight starts as an Oriole.

And what does Miley do?

Tells us all to shut up with his left arm.

He throws three perfect innings to start the game. Then he gets out of a fourth-inning jam – thanks in part to a caught stealing by Caleb Joseph – to keep the Rays scoreless through four.

That’s where the afternoon of redemption would end for Miley.

And it ended in the worst way: Injury.

Miley said he slipped on the mound in the fourth inning while delivering a pitch and felt “something grab in my shoulder-blade area. It kind of stayed there and didn’t go away, and in between innings, it kind of got a little worse.”

While warming on the mound in the top of the fifth, he felt it again, and was immediately met by athletic trainer Richie Bancells, who ultimately escorted Miley to the dugout.

“I didn’t think it was smart to stay out there and try to deal with it,” he said.

So the guy who has struggled so much since being an Oriole, was performing best in this uniform, and had to exit.

“It’s just one of those things, I guess,” Miley said. “It sucks.”

Since he has never had a muscle strain in his back before, he’s not sure what the prognosis will be. The hope is that, because it’s a mild strain, it will dissipate soon.

“If it was something I felt before, maybe I have an idea, but it’s something I never felt. I was a little nervous. I’m not going to lie about it,” Miley said after the game. “It feels a lot better right now, so, hopefully, some cramps. It was pretty hot, so we’ll go from there.”

What shouldn’t be lost in Miley’s unfortunate luck is that his back couldn’t have been pinned more against baseball’s wall, and he delivered four scoreless innings. Really, it was better than could have been expected.

“At this stage of the season I’ll take the four,” Showalter said. “I’m hoping that he comes in tomorrow and feels good and is an option for us.”

Move doesn’t work in seventh

Showalter made two moves in the bottom of the seventh, one which was successful in its intent. The other didn’t work at all.

With runners on first and second and no outs in a 1-1 game, the Orioles decided to have Caleb Joseph drop down a bunt. Joseph, who hadn’t driven in a run in 126 previous at-bats this season, executed it perfectly, moving the runners to second and third.

One can always argue the value in giving away an out, but the move did what it was supposed to do: Get runners to second and third with just one out.

A fairly deep fly ball and the Orioles take a 2-1 lead.

Adam Jones came to the plate and struck out, swinging wildly on the last one that was high and outside.

Hyun Soo Kim was due up next, but the Rays decided to take right-hander Danny Farquhar out and replaced him with veteran lefty Dana Eveland.

Showalter countered by removing Kim, who is hitless in 18 at-bats this season against lefties, and inserted Drew Stubbs (11-for-45, .244).

Stubbs watched all six pitches, and was called out on strikes to end the inning.

Showalter isn’t convinced that Kim can hit left-handed pitching, and he is sticking with that concept despite Kim’s ability to handle the bat versus right-handers and limited exposure to big league lefties. At the very least, Showalter is playing the percentages, which meant go with a right-hander in that situation.

Ultimately, it didn’t matter. As the Orioles are wont to do, they bashed strategy into the ground when Mark Trumbo homered in the eighth to give the Orioles’ the eventual win.

O’Day returns Sunday

One of the unfortunate negatives of Miley’s departure in the fifth, is that no one was warming up in the bullpen.

Darren O’Day was summoned, the earliest he’s entered a game since May 2012.

He gave up a homer to Corey Dickerson on the first pitch he threw, but then retired three of the next four batters he faced.

“It was awesome to be back. Be able to help the guys out,” said O’Day, who hadn’t pitched since Aug. 11 due to a shoulder injury. “They’ve been having a heavy workload down there. So to take one inning, it’s helpful. Obviously, the day was made even better by the win at the end there. It was a good day.”

O’Day and Showalter said the big test will be how O’Day feels on Monday. But if he is fully back, that is huge for the Orioles and their stout bullpen.

Brach gets 10th win

Chris Tillman has the most wins for the Orioles this year at 16.

Next on the list?

Set-up man Brad Brach with 10 – a ton for a reliever. That’s the most for the Orioles since Arthur Rhodes won 10 out of the bullpen in 1997.

“If someone told me I’d win 10 games out of the bullpen, I’d be like, ‘I don’t know how that’s possible, first of all,’” he said. “But it’s pretty crazy.”

Brach is 22-7 in his three-season career with the Orioles, and he’s never started a game for them.

That’s when baseball isn’t cruel – just weird — I suppose.



  1. Rob

    September 18, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    Miley…ugh. We weathered that storm. That’s all I have to say about that. More important to me is the consistent failure of the middle of the lineup with RISP of late. Look, as hard of a pill as it is to swallow, I’ll accept the fact that Davis is more likely to strand a runner by KO than not. What I cannot continue to accept is Trumbo (great HR today Mark…long time no see) and even more so, Schoop doing the same. You cannot have a lineup that included of all things, a second-baseman who strikes out with the frequency of Schoop. Not on this team. I realize he’s best buds with Manny and is the equivalent of Linus’s blue blanket for our all-world infielder but if it were up to me he would be gone. I am not fooled by his 24 HRs. We need those like a forth leg. I’m back at the Yards on Tuesday and I’m grateful I get The pitching match up we expect! Go O’s!

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      September 19, 2016 at 7:19 am

      Trumbo long time no see Home Run ? Schoop be gone? Just what have you been watching my friend? First off, Trumbo missed a few games with an injury this past week if you hadn’t noticed, other than that, he’s been pretty danged consistent with the dingers this year. And you want to get rid of Schoop? That’s just plain crazy talk. He can fool me with those home runs all day long if he wants to. He’s one of THE best young (and I stress young) 2nd basemen in the game today. You obviously don’t remember the Jeff Reboulets, Lenny Sakatas and Jerry Hairtons of our past at that position. OK I admit that I omitted Brian Roberts … but frankly, I’d even take Schoop over Roberts!

  2. jan417

    September 18, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    Based on your comments about Schoop alone I have determined that you are….well…an idiot. Do you REALIZE how many teams would LOVE to have him on their roster?Do you really think the only reason he is here is because he and Manny are friends. If you think that you have no common sense.

    Yeah, 24 home runs and the fact that he has carried this team during some games this year are not a mirage.

    • Rob

      September 18, 2016 at 8:33 pm

      The fact that you called me out as…well, an idiot, I’m humbled. It’s not the person in Schoop I am upset with, it is only how he fits in with the larger chemical make up of his particular team. Thank you for bashing me though. I am quite use to it.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      September 19, 2016 at 7:20 am

      Thanks Jan417 … a little common sense amongst the rabble.

      • Bancells Moustache

        September 19, 2016 at 11:50 am

        Fellas, if we could dispense with the name-calling that would be great. That sort of keyboard warrior childishness is better suited for certain other Orioles fan sites and, honestly, unless you two are going to meet in the Camden Yards parking lot and beat the shit out of each other after study hall, it’s really not that necessary.
        As to Schoop, I’ll agree he has been maddeningly inconsistent (to be fair, on this team, who isn’t) but to toss a guy out of the boat who is still on the upward trajectory of his young career, and who has perrenial All Star potential to boot, is folly. I suppose the best question is, who do you replace him with? Ryan Flaherty or the immortal Paul Janish? That should be consideration number one, never mind that he is Machado’s heterosexual life partner, which is also folly to kowtow to. Machado is gone in two years, people. Start prepping yourself now for this inevitibility.

    • Dan Connolly

      September 19, 2016 at 12:04 pm

      I am just going to weigh in all at once here. The most important thing is what the Stache said. Steve and I were a little concerned about adding comment forums to the end of my pieces because we didn’t want this to become some uncontrollable, nasty insultfest like some boards are. But we also wanted to interact with the readers. And it’s been great. So many smart and funny posters and some great interaction. I’m really enjoying it. But let’s keep it that way. I don’t really agree with Rob’s assessment of Schoop — he is only 24 — but he’s also correct that the O’s downfall could be its lack of lineup diversity as it pertains to plate discipline and approach. And Schoop is part of that. Point is: all you people are smart O’s fans. Your thoughts have merit. So let’s treat it as such. Or I’m calling the cops during study hall.

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