BALTIMORE—The Orioles have 13 games remaining in this most forgettable of all seasons. They’ll try to win as many games as they can, but even getting through those final 13 will be an immense challenge.
After Sunday’s 8-4 win over the Chicago White Sox, manager Buck Showalter wouldn’t announce a starter for Monday’s game against Toronto. Originally, he hoped that Andrew Cashner would be the starter, but Cashner has been dealing with a left knee injury. In his last start on Sept. 12, Cashner allowed eight runs and couldn’t record an out in the third inning. He may not pitch again this year.
With both Alex Cobb (blister) and Luis Ortiz (hamstring) not available, the Orioles need two starters for the three-game Blue Jay series. For Monday, Showalter will try to cobble together a bullpen game, and may well resort to using an opener just like the Tampa Bay Rays have been employing.
“We’re going to look at it,” Showalter said. “We’ve already started looking at it. We’re not going to announce anybody today. We’re going to kind of let the smoke clear a little bit.
“I know it’s one of three guys right now, none of which has started for us this year. I told them they would know by X time, and I don’t want to give them too much time to think about it. We have a pretty good idea of which way we’re going with it. We just want to make sure we’ve thought through everything, because I knew there were going to be some variables from today’s game that may make us look at it differently.”
Showalter emphasized that the candidates are being picked from within the Orioles’ clubhouse.
One candidate could be Sean Gilmartin, who started a game in both 2015 and 2016 for the New York Mets. Gilmartin is a left-hander, who’s twice thrown three innings since he was recalled on Aug. 11.
It won’t be Miguel Castro, who pitched to five batters in Sunday’s game, and it won’t be Josh Rogers, Mike Wright or Jimmy Yacabonis. All four have started at least one game this season.
Dylan Bundy is scheduled for Tuesday’s start, but they don’t have a starter for Wednesday, either. The Orioles could recall John Means or Dillon Tate to add to Showalter’s options, but neither has pitched since the minor league season ended on Labor Day. Means pitched at Triple-A Norfolk and Tate, who was acquired from the New York Yankees in the Zach Britton trade, was at Double-A Bowie.
David Hess and Yefry Ramirez, who was impressive on Saturday night, remain in the rotation.
Means and Tate could be added to the roster, but room would have to be made on the 40-man roster. Cashner or Ortiz, who will have an MRI early this week, could be moved.
Game of firsts
A quartet of young Orioles achieved firsts on Sunday. Ryan Meisinger, who bailed out an ineffective Hess, recorded his first major league win. Hess allowed four runs, three earned, in 4 1/3 innings. Meisinger gave up a hit and walk, but retired two batters to close out the fifth.
Paul Fry, a left-hander who has impressed Showalter, got five outs and struck out four batters to earn his initial major league save.
Cedric Mullins had his first four-hit game and first stolen base, and DJ Stewart, who is hitless in 13 at-bats, had his first RBI on a fielder’s choice in the first inning.
The Orioles equaled a season-high by striking out 14 batters. On May 24, they struck out 14 in another win against the White Sox.
Adam Jones, who hit his 15th home run, stole his seventh base without being thrown out. It’s his most steals since 2014 when Jones also stole seven bases and was thrown out once.
Avoiding infamy for now
The next Orioles’ loss will be their 107th, equaling the franchise record set in 1988 when they limped to a 54-107 record after an 0-21 start. Their 43rd win ensures that won’t equal the 1962 Mets who were 40-120. In 2003, the Detroit Tigers were 43-119. As long as the Orioles win one of their final 13 games, they’ll have a better record than Detroit’s.
After the three games with Toronto, the final 10 will be against teams with the three-best records in the American League. They’ll play three at Yankee Stadium Sept. 21-23, three at Boston Sept 24-26, and finish the season at home with four against Houston Sept. 27-30. The Orioles will have their final off day on Thursday.