Myriad Orioles Thoughts: Multiple players injured; Yacabonis likely to start; booing club veterans for lackluster play - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Paul Folkemer

Myriad Orioles Thoughts: Multiple players injured; Yacabonis likely to start; booing club veterans for lackluster play

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

When it rains, it pours for the 2018 Orioles.

Not only did the club lose again — dropping to 23-55 on the season with a 3-2 loss to the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday — but their injury woes escalated when reliever Darren O’Day exited in the eighth inning with a sore hamstring.

O’Day faltered while trying to field a Jean Segura bunt and was immediately visited by Buck Showalter and the Orioles’ training staff. O’Day left the game with what’s believed to be similar to the right hamstring strain that landed him on the DL in 2016.

“He’s probably going to get an MRI in the morning, but I feel pretty confident that he’s headed to the disabled list,” Showalter said.

O’Day was making his seventh appearance since returning from a hyperextended right elbow that shelved him for more than a month. Now he appears to be headed back to the DL.

“(It’s) frustrating. I was throwing well, helping the team,” a sullen O’Day said. “It’s a hard game. It really is. Injuries are going to happen. It’s tough.”

It will be his fifth DL stint since he signed a four-year extension with the Orioles prior to the 2016 season. It’s a distressing turn of events for a pitcher who was the picture of health during his first four years with the Orioles from 2012-2015, making 68 or more appearances each season.

“Darren’s battled a lot of things here the last couple years, and it’s frustrating for him and us, because we all know what he’s capable of and what he means to us,” Showalter said. “It’s as frustrating for him as it is for us, because you’ve got a good player, a good pitcher and a good guy you rely on in a lot of different ways other than just pitching.”

O’Day’s expected absence will place further strain on an Orioles’ bullpen that has faltered lately, with relievers taking the loss in four of the club’s last five defeats. That included Tuesday, when Kyle Seager’s two-run single off Tanner Scott scored O’Day’s two baserunners to give the Mariners the lead in the eighth.

“We want to do our jobs, so when one of us gets hurt, the harder it makes that,” O’Day said. “Hopefully the young guys can step up and take advantage of the opportunities.”

Bundy injured, Yacabonis on his way up

Tuesday’s bad news started before the Orioles took the field, when the club placed right-hander Dylan Bundy on the 10-day DL on Tuesday with a left ankle sprain, an injury he suffered while running the bases in Atlanta on Saturday. The Orioles will be without their best starting pitcher for at least the next two turns through the rotation.

I’ve already discussed my distaste for National League rules; pitchers are paid to pitch, not hit, and there’s no reason they should ever be in a lineup. Bundy’s injury just hammers that point home. If he’d suffered the injury while pitching, well, that’s life. But for Bundy to get injured running the bases because the Orioles were forced to put him in the lineup for interleague play? That’s a tough pill to swallow.

My opinion, of course, doesn’t mean much. But there seems to be growing support throughout baseball for implementing the designated hitter in both leagues. Injuries like Bundy’s are part of the reason why. Keeping pitchers out of the batter’s box is a safety issue, first and foremost. And if it means we’ll no longer have to watch pitchers helplessly flail away at the plate 90 percent of the time, all the better.

For now, the Orioles have replaced Bundy on the roster with lefty Donnie Hart, who’s making a U-turn back to Baltimore after the club optioned him to Triple-A Norfolk on Monday.

With Bundy scratched from his scheduled start Thursday, he’s likely to be replaced in the rotation by Norfolk righty Jimmy Yacabonis. Though the Orioles haven’t made an official announcement, Yacabonis was scratched from his Tuesday start for the Tides and told reporters that he’s on his way to Baltimore. It would be his first major league start. Yacabonis’ previous 16 major league appearances have come in relief, as did all 190 of his minor league outings prior to this season.

The Orioles, though, have had success converting him to a starting role in Norfolk this year. In 13 starts for the Tides, Yacabonis is 3-2 with a 3.14 ERA, the best ERA of any Tides’ pitcher with at least seven starts.

It remains to be seen if Yacabonis has the stamina to survive as a starter in the majors, and he’ll need to throw more strikes to have any chance of success (he currently has 19 walks in 23 career big league innings). Still, in a lost season like this one, there’s no harm in the Orioles giving him a shot.

Gentry DL-bound, too

More raining, more pouring.

As if injuries to O’Day and Bundy weren’t enough, outfielder Craig Gentry is also headed to the disabled list. Showalter informed reporters after the game that Gentry suffered an injured rib after getting hit by a pitch in Atlanta on Saturday.

“It should not be long term, but obviously 10 days or more,” Showalter said.

While the loss of Gentry isn’t quite on the same level as O’Day and certainly not Bundy, he’s been useful as a reserve outfielder who can come in for late-inning defense or pinch-run. The Orioles are expected to call up an outfielder from Norfolk to replace him.

Fans getting restless with Orioles’ veterans

It’s no surprise that Orioles’ fans are upset with the putrid play of the 2018 club. And Tuesday night, they weren’t shy about voicing their frustrations.

The announced crowd of 16,327 at Camden Yards was particularly fed up with perpetually slumping first baseman Chris Davis, who was utterly overmatched by Mariners’ southpaw James Paxton. Davis struck out in all three at-bats against Paxton, including a pair of three-pitch strikeouts. The crowd’s boos got steadily louder after each whiff.

Davis, who was recently benched for eight games while he worked on making improvements behind the scenes, had two hot games after he returned to the lineup in Atlanta. He collected a home run, a double and five RBIs on Friday and Saturday.

Since then, though, Davis has looked much like the helpless hitter who was benched. Since his Saturday double, Davis is hitless in his last 15 at-bats, striking out eight times. He has struck out at least once in 26 consecutive games.

The Orioles will continue to give Davis his at-bats in hopes of salvaging some value. He’s in the third season of a seven-year, $161 million contract, and with the team going nowhere this season, they can afford to give Davis as much rope as he can possibly handle. So far, though, Davis doesn’t really look like a new and improved hitter since his hiatus.

But the fans didn’t just direct their anger towards Davis — they also targeted the club’s biggest star.

In the bottom of the sixth, with the bases loaded in a tie game, Manny Machado rolled a grounder to second base. Dee Gordon flipped to Segura, who double-clutched before delivering the relay to first. Segura still finished off the double play in plenty of time, though, because Machado was jogging down the first-base line.

The go-ahead run scored on the play, but a number of fans booed Machado, presumably thinking that if he’d hustled, he might’ve been able to beat out Segura’s relay.

For all his talents, Machado doesn’t always bust it down the line on routine grounders. In the majority of cases, the plodding pace hasn’t hurt him. But in this case, he might have cost the Orioles a bigger rally because he gave up on the play.

“I haven’t looked at it closely, whether he slipped out of the box or what,” Showalter said. “I’m not going to make an excuse for him before I look at it. But Manny plays every day. I know he’s probably frustrated there.

“(Segura) took his time with it. Usually when a ball’s hit that firmly, it’s a pretty easy double play. He just took his time. Manny may have allowed him to take more time than he normally would. But it’ll be addressed.”

 

30 Comments

30 Comments

  1. deqalt

    June 27, 2018 at 7:28 am

    Bundy injured, Yacabonis on his way up….That’s one of the biggest problems with the Orioles. This farm system is terrible. When you have an injury to a starting pitcher and you really have no one who even close that is on the brink to fill in. Yacabonis is the best you can do.

    • Paul Folkemer

      June 27, 2018 at 10:33 am

      Oh, and to add to the wonderful news…Keegan Akin left last night’s start in Bowie with groin tightness. The hits just keep on coming.

  2. Zoey Dog Says Throw Strikes

    June 27, 2018 at 7:38 am

    Earlier in the year I remember thinking that this team would struggle to win 70 games. Now that’s lookikg like a pipe dream. I’m not sure they can break 50. I think it’s likely, but I’m not putting money on it.

    Putrid is the right word, Dan.

    • Zoey Dog Says Throw Strikes

      June 27, 2018 at 1:03 pm

      Sorry Paul — didn’t realize you wrote this entry. 🙂

  3. Boog Robinson Robinson

    June 27, 2018 at 7:46 am

    “Perpetually slumping Davis”? I’m thinking it’s well past time that we stop using any form of the word “slump” in conjunction with this bum. He is what he is, and he certainly isn’t a big league player any more. It’s been 3 seasons, and $69 million since he was.

    And as far as Machado’s lack of hustle, it’s nothing new. As far as I’m concerned, let’s not let the door hit him in his over rated, primadonna butt on the way out. (on 2nd thought, I don’t care if the door hits him) Good riddance to Manny Machado’s, lack of hustle, subpar shortstop defense, gold chains, big ears and lousy choice of hair styles. Superstars are supposed to lead my example. Grow the heck up Manny and run it out. Boooooooooo

    • deqalt

      June 27, 2018 at 7:49 am

      Don’t worry Scott and Chris Davis are working on it!

    • Paul Folkemer

      June 27, 2018 at 10:39 am

      “Perpetually slumping” is the kindest description I could think of for Davis. I’m sure there are plenty of other ways you could describe him, but most can’t be written in a published article.

      As for Manny…leaving aside the other criticisms (some of which I agree with), you’re ripping the guy for having big ears? Really?

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        June 27, 2018 at 1:56 pm

        I apologize … I probably have seen bigger ears.

        • Jbigle1

          June 27, 2018 at 10:39 pm

          Pass for the Ears, he can’t help that one. But the hair is horrific. I too won’t miss the way he plays but we probably won’t see a talent like that for many many years.

    • Djowen

      June 27, 2018 at 11:51 am

      It’s hard to expect more from him when Arod is his mentor.

  4. Dblack2508

    June 27, 2018 at 8:07 am

    When fans shell out their hard earned money on a product thats having a historically bad season and a player seems like they’re not giving an 100% effort, its understandable with their frustration. The lack of depth in the farm system is extremely alarming.

  5. chico salmon

    June 27, 2018 at 8:14 am

    Manny reminds me a lot of Robinson Canoe. Tremendous talent, but occasionally dogs it. It will be interesting to see if his performance mirrors Canoe’s after his mega-contract. I wonder how the Mariners feel about signing Canoe. Dan, any sense from the Seattle beat writers about that?

    • Paul Folkemer

      June 27, 2018 at 10:44 am

      I’m not Dan, but if I were a Mariners fan, I’d be very happy with how the Cano contract has turned out — at least until his PED suspension this year. Cano’s been a productive hitter all five years of the deal, a three-time All-Star, a top-10 MVP finisher twice. The last few years of that contract may end up looking pretty ugly, but the M’s have gotten their money’s worth so far.

      Still, I don’t think the Machado/Cano comparison really works. Cano was 31 years old when he signed his free agent deal. Machado will be 26. That’s an enormous difference. Plus Manny isn’t as good a pure hitter as Cano is, but he’s a better fielder (particularly at third base).

  6. SIXDAYWAR

    June 27, 2018 at 8:29 am

    Its just an off year…Do You really feel like working this year ? Rumours of a Nats takeover. Trumpness encroaching on an already decrepit city. Just a bad hombre year…
    Stop hyperanalyzing this its a great year for Stub Hub and vividseats resales from a consumer point of view.
    Stop whining !!! isn’t your BOSS watching you ?

  7. JCO

    June 27, 2018 at 8:33 am

    The comments about Manny make me think it’s the late 70s or 80s and I’m listening to callers on Baltimore sports talk complain that Eddie Murray is lazy.

    One thing on the DH that I rarely hear mentioned, who else uses it? Once past little league, most leagues use the DH, including international baseball. The vast majority of time in the minors, the DH is used. The NL is one of the last surviving instances of pitchers hitting in all of baseball. Yet I hear anti-DH people talk as if the AL is the only instance of its existence and they are speaking for the majority. Not really linking up with reality.

    • Paul Folkemer

      June 27, 2018 at 10:48 am

      Good point about the DH. Most leagues have embraced it and have drifted away from forcing pitchers into the lineup. It’s just a more entertaining game with the DH, and it’s safer for the pitchers. I have to think it’s just a matter of time before the DH comes to the NL.

    • Djowen

      June 27, 2018 at 11:55 am

      They should institute a pinch runner only for AL teams playing in a NL city. The runner could run for the pitcher any time the pitcher gets on base. The same runner can run more then once a game.

  8. bickel57

    June 27, 2018 at 9:49 am

    Ever since O’Day send his 4 year deal he has spent more time with doctors than the team. Even if healthy who would want to trade for him. I hope they get it right and bring up Stewart to replace Gentry and not Rickard. We already know his capabilities. As far as Davis goes let’s try 80 games on the bench without being in the lineup maybe he will get the hint. This team is awful everyone’s knows it as lea see the players can give 100 percent for the game. That is all we fans want. If the players start to give up well why play the games .

    • Paul Folkemer

      June 27, 2018 at 10:51 am

      I’m all for calling up Stewart, but if they do, I want them to put him in the everyday lineup, not use him in the Gentry fifth-outfielder role. That would be a waste of his talents.

      Personally, I would install Stewart as the everyday RF for the Orioles right now, and move Colby Rasmus to a bench role. But my guess is that the O’s will just call up Rickard, since he’s a more similar player to Gentry as a right-handed defensive replacement/pinch-runner type.

    • Ekim

      June 29, 2018 at 3:15 pm

      What is a Colby Rasmus anyway?

  9. Bancells Moustache

    June 27, 2018 at 11:25 am

    It must have been “First Game” night at the ballpark, as anyone surprised by Machado dogging it down the baseline hasn’t been watching the past 5 years. I’m not sure Lazy is the right term, but writers throw many superlatives his way like “gifted” and “supremely talented”, however “hard-working” doesn’t come up nearly as often…

    We have a solution to the Davis quandary though. Just let him play once every 8 games. That’ll net him another 10 HRs this season! This will also reduce the chances of the best first baseman on the team slumping after injuring his knee on the left field wall by a wide margin.

    I myself detest using the DH at the younger levels of baseball. More often than not, your pitchers tend to be some of your best players. Forcing younger players into the specialization of the big leagues, which is driven by economics more so than anything, stunts their development. Plus, what kid on Earth shows up at the ballpark and doesn’t want to hit? At this point the universal DH at the pro level is a foregone conclusion, for better or worse. It’s just a matter of time before a 200+ million arm takes one off the hand and is lost for the year, and that’ll be it.

  10. Wade Warren

    June 27, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    to much money involved in baseball. imagine extending Manny for 5 to 7 years guarantee more jogging around the basepaths.

  11. GSISDANNO

    June 27, 2018 at 2:05 pm

    Orioles fans are among the most patient in baseball. It is very telling that they are now booing. This team has a list of players who are underachieving. Just look at the batting averages. Adam Jones is the only one who is hitting. I wish Machado would just go wherever now. He doesn’t want to be here and I don’t want him here. Moving him to shortstop weakened us on the left side of the infield. Defensively, he is no J.J. Hardy. He needs to go.

  12. GSISDANNO

    June 27, 2018 at 2:05 pm

    Orioles fans are among the most patient in baseball. It is very telling that they are now booing. This team has a list of players who are underachieving. Just look at the batting averages. Adam Jones is the only one who is hitting. I wish Machado would just go wherever now. He doesn’t want to be here and I don’t want him here. Moving him to shortstop weakened us on the left side of the infield. Defensively, he is no J.J. Hardy. He needs to go.

  13. jimcarter

    June 27, 2018 at 2:09 pm

    I’ve heard many destinations for Manny (not that I believe he’ll actually be traded). If he landed on the south side of Chicago, he’d be in for a rude awakening. The White Sox manager will and has benched ANYONE who doesn’t hustle down the first base line. Manny is accustomed to being coddled (spell check suggested “, cuddled” which would work too) by Buck. Wait til he plays for a manager with a backbone.

  14. ATCguy

    June 27, 2018 at 3:18 pm

    Not much argument from me on everything except the DH rule. I have always been against it, and always will. When I was an umpire, Rule 1.1.1 states that baseball is a game played between 2 teams of nine players. The moment a coach handed me a scorecard with 10 names penciled in it, we were no longer playing “baseball”…but some bastardized form of the game.

    Let the NFL stick with “specialists”. You say pitchers get paid to pitch… I would argue they get paid to play baseball. And if the “paid to pitch” argument is true, then why not have “designated fielders” for the guys who are “paid to hit”? Using those arguments, we could extend that to any position. “He gets paid to catch & throw runners out… not hit”. “He gets paid to be the fastest/best CF in the game… not hit”. Etc.

    The game is already being watered down enough with the exact problem the Orioles have… sluggers vs. baseball players. The fundamentals of the game are being lost… all in the name of bringing more offense to the game. “Chicks dig the long ball” mentality. We no longer have a majority of players that try to go the other way… that can bunt successfully to move runners over… that choke up on the bat when necessary to put the ball in play, etc.

    The last thing I wanna see is a game with designated hitters, designated defensemen, designated runners, etc. But if the trend continues, I can forsee my grandkids having to watch games with 9 DH’s in the lineup, batting for 9 fielders. 🙁

    • Paul Folkemer

      June 27, 2018 at 4:00 pm

      “If the trend continues…” What trend? The DH has been around for 47 years, and in that half-century, it hasn’t led to the creation of designated fielders, designated runners, or anything else. There’s not even an inkling that anyone in MLB is considering those types of things. That kind of slippery slope argument has no basis at all in my mind.

      The bottom line is that pitchers are so consistently worse than everyone else at hitting, and have been for a very, very long time, that it makes the game a less entertaining product. Even the very worst hitting position players are worlds better than pitchers. Take Chris Davis, who’s the worst hitter in the majors this year and is on pace for the worst MLB season in history for a hitter. He’s STILL hitting much better than pitchers, who are batting .107/.140/.136 collectively this season.

      And pitchers aren’t going to get better at hitting. They’re probably only going to get worse. Pitchers spend the majority of their time working on their pitching, not their hitting, and justifiably so. I’m not sure most pitchers even want to hit or run the bases. So why force them to?

      Nobody’s calling for all nine positions to be replaced by separate groups of fielders and hitters. And there’s no danger of that happening. But plugging in a DH instead of a pitcher? That’s an easy, and long overdue, change for the NL to make.

      • ATCguy

        June 27, 2018 at 8:03 pm

        Think we’re gonna have to agree to respectfully disagree with each other here. 🙂 True, no one’s advocating for multiple DHs now… but 50 years ago, no one had heard of a DH “specialist”. 20 years ago, no one had heard of a “closer”, yet we now have specialists for that. 10 years ago, no one had heard of “set-up” men out of the bullpen, but we now have specialists for that. 3 years ago, we’d never heard of “openers” to start games, but they’re becoming… well, if not common, at least not unheard of. Don’t even get me started on the idea of “bullpen games” in place of 4th or 5th starters. All of these “specialists” coming up who can’t perform 50% of what a real baseball player is supposed to do… hit.

        And I haven’t even touched on the lack of strategy in the game with a DH. The decision making process a NL manager must go thru in the 5th or 6th inning with a starting pitcher who’s cruising along, but he now has 2 men on with less than 2 out, is behind a run, and his pitcher is coming to bat. Keep his defensive weapon on the mound, or pull him in favor of potential offensive production? THAT’s real baseball! And it’s something that’s been missing in AL homerun derby slugfests.

  15. Ekim

    June 29, 2018 at 3:19 pm

    It’s been a while since I stated that the O’s had picked it in for the season and got no comments. Are you ready to admit it now?

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