Bautista always wants the ball for Orioles - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

Bautista always wants the ball for Orioles

Photo Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

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SAN DIEGO—Oriole closer Félix Bautista hasn’t thrown in consecutive games since July 22nd-23rd when he saved consecutive games at Tampa Bay. On Saturday night in Seattle, he threw two scoreless innings, the fourth time he’s done that.

Since Bautista went two innings, manager Brandon Hyde decided to rest his All-Star reliever on Sunday when the Orioles badly needed him. Instead, Shintaro Fujinami picked up his first save in their exciting 5-3 win over the Mariners.

Bautista doesn’t want to say he’s unavailable, but Hyde makes that decision for him.

“Sometimes I can go out and pitch two innings and feel good for the next day, possibly feel ready to pitch another inning,” Bautista said through a translator. “I know that they’re trying to care of me and they have a long-term outlook to protect me and try to keep me safe so I have to keep those things in mind.”

Bautista has appeared in 52 of the Orioles’ 119 games, and there have been times where he’s warmed up but hasn’t pitched in the game, something that Hyde says he takes into consideration when calculating if a pitcher needs a rest day.

“We keep track of all of that,” Hyde said. “When I go through availability of guys, it’s communication between me and the pitching coaches or me and the player, but I also look at how many pitches they’ve thrown in the ‘pen. That’s the kind of thing that other people don’t see.”

Bautista has been in many intense games.

“It’s been super exciting, and these are some really important games to try to stay at the top of the division. I’m really happy with the way we’ve been playing lately,” Bautista said.

The intensity of the games could help Bautista get ready for the postseason, but he’s enjoying the regular season.

“I think the games are the same right now. I’ve never been to the postseason, but I can imagine that it’s going to be a lot more emotions and a lot more pressure,” Bautista said. “I’m going to do my best to stay calm and go out there and do my job when the time comes.”

Bautista allowed four runs on August 8th in a 7-6 loss to Houston, which nearly doubled his ERA from 0.85 to 1.52. He’s  7-2 with a 1.57 ERA and 32 saves. He earned his 32nd on Monday night with a scoreless inning, though he walked two.

“I’m extremely happy, and I feel very thankful for the way I’ve been able to pitch,” Bautista said. “The opportunities that they’ve given me to pitch in as well. Being able to go out there and convert saves and punch guys out and just really put together a really good season.”

Note: Aaron Hicks left Monday night’s game with back soreness. Hyde said that he feels better today and can play, though he’s not in the lineup.

Call for questions: I’ll be answering Orioles questions in the coming days. Please email your questions to [email protected].

RAVENS NEWS from BaltimoreSports.com

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