Orioles manager Buck Showalter was obviously not pleased with the way his team ended a seven-game home stand before heading west for another crucial stretch of the season.
Baltimore dropped the series finale to the Detroit Tigers, 6-1, Aug. 2 in a game marred by several miscues. Most notably, right fielder Nolan Reimold hit the cutoff man, second baseman Jonathan Schoop, in the leg on an attempted throw to second base. That allowed Detroit’s Rajai Davis to take third base and opened the door for a three-run top of the fifth inning.
The Orioles begin a nine-game road trip against the Oakland Athletics Aug. 3 and are six games behind the New York Yankees in the American League East and one game out of the Wild Card. Baltimore also plays three games against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Seattle Mariners, respectively.
“I’ve moved on to Oakland,” said Showalter, whose team still managed to finish 5-2 on the home stand. “If you go in there and ask our guys would they have taken that before we got here, no, they were shooting for all seven. That’s the way you play, just like the road trip. We know the reality of the math, the way it usually works, but we did some things good, some things we have to be better at. We’ll stay engaged in this, and we have a challenging trip ahead of us.”
The Orioles begin the series against Oakland without their top pitcher, Chris Tillman, who was bumped from his scheduled start in the series opener because of a left ankle sprain. Tillman will have a work day Aug. 5. If there are no setbacks, he will make the start against the Angels Aug. 7.
“We’ll see how that is and then how it feels on the off-day on [Aug. 6],” Showalter said. “There’s two parts to that: one, how he throws, and two, how he feels the next day.”
Tillman suffered the injury against the Atlanta Braves July 29, when he rolled his ankle covering first base in the ninth inning. The injury forced him to miss his scheduled work day, and the Orioles have decided to give him more rest.
After a shaky opening to the season, Tillman has won his past six decisions. He also has a 1.09 ERA during his past six outings.
As a result, right-hander Tyler Wilson is being recalled from Triple-A Norfolk and will make his second start of the season against the A’s. Wilson last pitched July 29 for Triple-A Norfolk, so he is pitching on normal rest. He has appeared in five games for Baltimore, with the one start, and has posted has a 2.12 ERA. Wilson is also 5-5 with a 3.05 ERA in 16 starts for the Tides.
To make room, right-hander Jorge Rondon was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk after throwing 3.1 scoreless innings against the Tigers Aug. 2 — a crucial performance that helped preserve the bullpen after right-handed starter Ubaldo Jimenez struggled and lasted 4.2 innings.
One of the recent highlights has been first baseman Chris Davis, who has hit seven home runs during the past 12 games. He leads the team with 26 homers and 72 RBIs. Davis understands the upcoming road trip is crucial to the team’s playoff hopes. Baltimore, however, has struggled on the road, going 21-31.
“We’ve got to continue to play good baseball,” Davis said. “These one-run and two-run wins and losses. We needed to execute everything we’ve been doing that’s made us successful to continue to grind out wins. Every win is big.”
• Shortstop J.J. Hardy snapped his season-high 15-game hitting streak by going 0-for-3 against the Tigers Aug. 2. It was his longest stretch since hitting in 16 straight games in 2008.
• Right-handed pitcher Jason Garcia, who is a Rule 5 pick, will finish his 30-day injury rehab assignment for right shoulder tendinitis this week. Garcia must remain on the active roster for the duration of the season in order to lose his Rule 5 status next year. This could be another challenge for Showalter in managing the roster.
• Utility man Steve Pearce traveled to the Orioles’ minor league facility in Sarasota, Fla., to continue rehab on his strained left oblique. Pearce might be able to resume baseball activities as early as this week. Showalter, however, was not overly optimistic the versatile player would be ready that quickly.