BALTIMORE—With the Orioles searching for starting pitching, they may have found another option in Yefry Ramirez. The 24-year-old hadn’t started in nearly four weeks as manager Buck Showalter wanted to look elsewhere after Ramirez allowed seven runs in three innings against Cleveland on Aug. 19.
Ramirez, who had been in the bullpen, was the loser Saturday night, but this time, it was of the hard-luck variety. Pitching into the sixth for the first time in 10 major league starts, Ramirez gave up three of his four hits while the Orioles couldn’t provide any offense and lost for the second straight time to the Chicago White Sox, 2-0.
The Orioles, whose next loss will tie them for most defeats in club history, are 42-106. They had just five hits and never got a runner to third base.
“That’s probably his best outing of the year,” Showalter said of Ramirez. “Just another night where he deserved a better fate as far as W and L. He pitched well enough to win that game.”
Ramirez stuck out seven in 5 2/3 innings, but because he worked two innings in relief on Tuesday, Showalter limited him to 83 pitches.
“I think he’s got a chance to grow,” Showalter said. “He’s gotten better.”
Ramirez said that pitching in relief has helped.
“Being in the bullpen I’ve learned some stuff,” Ramirez said through a translator. “But the biggest thing for me is practicing, just dedicating myself, training myself and preparing for my next outing.”
Scrambling again for starters
Ramirez will have to stay in the starting rotation because Showalter said that Andrew Cashner’s left knee had not responded to treatment and that he won’t make his scheduled Monday start. The Orioles don’t have any immediate plans to pitch him, Alex Cobb, who has a blister on his right middle finger, or Luis Ortiz, who has a left hamstring injury.
The Orioles don’t have a starter for Monday.
Showalter said the Orioles have enough starters, even without Cashner, Cobb and Ortiz to finish out the season. “[Pitching coach Roger McDowell] and I spent a lot of time the last couple of days looking at it,” Showalter said. “We have put some things in motion to cover us if there’s an issue there.”
He indicated that left-hander John Means, who the Orioles may put on the 40-man roster, could be added. “He presented himself pretty well in Triple-A. He’s an option.”
Joseph on target
Caleb Joseph threw out all three Chicago runners attempting to steal. Two of the runners tried to steal against Ramirez, and another against Mike Wright.
“It pretty much starts and ends with the pitcher,” Joseph said. “If you give us a chance, we’ve got a better shot to get him than not, and [Ramirez] mixed up his looks, mixed up his throw-overs, and he gave me a really nice shot on two of the three to get down there. If you think about it, that’s an inning’s worth of outs.
“We shortened the game by an inning. We had three caught-stealings, and that’s one thing we had kind of gotten away from earlier in the season and we’re getting back to it. … That’s a huge staple in the Oriole defense that we’re going to take advantage of your aggressiveness on the bases because we have guys who can get the ball to the plate in a good quick manner and we’ve got guys who can throw out basestealers.”
Joseph has thrown out 35 percent of basestealers (19-for-55).
Wilkerson getting close
Steve Wilkerson, who hasn’t played since his Sept. 7 recall from Triple-A Norfolk because of a hamstring injury, should be able to play by Tuesday or Wednesday, Showalter said. Showalter is eager to see Wilkerson play shortstop, even for a game or two. The Orioles envision Wilkerson as a utility player, and Showalter said the most important skill a utility man can have is the ability to play short.
“They don’t have to play it for an extended period of time,” Showalter said. “Can they play it for a day or two—or for three or four innings and allow you to do something else?”
Wilkerson can also play the outfield.