A day after Jim Johnson blew his eighth save of the season in the Orioles’ 4-3 extra-inning loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks, manager Buck Showalter is still standing by his closer.
Asked today whether Francisco Rodriguez could get some save opportunities down the stretch, Showalter definitively said, “I don’t foresee that.”
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The Orioles have three off days -- including tomorrow -- over their next 12 days, but then finish the season with 33 games over 34 days, so how Showalter uses the bullpen will be critical down the stretch.
Last night, Tommy Hunter and Darren O’Day were not available to pitch. Brian Matusz could have been used in an emergency, but Showalter said he would have had a short leash.
The Orioles will also get help when the rosters expand Sept. 1. Kevin Gausman will join the team and will add an additional power arm in the bullpen.
In trying to avoid a sweep today, the Orioles will face left-hander Patrick Corbin, who has lost back-to-back decisions but is 12-3 with a 2.36 ERA. Arizona is 19-4 in games that Corbin has started this season.
The Orioles will counter with right-hander Chris Tillman, who is coming off a no-decision in his last outing despite holding the San Francisco Giants to one run and four hits in eight innings in an eventual 5-2 win. Tillman (14-3) has won 11 of his last 12 decisions.
Also of note heading into today's game:
-- Wilson Betemit reported to Double-A Bowie on Wednesday to continue his minor-league rehab assignment. “Mainly they’re just moving him according to who is at home,” Showalter said. “Plus it’s a level jump.”
-- Showalter said the team had a flight set up to call up an extra pitcher for long relief, but right-hander Bud Norris is available in the bullpen this afternoon in an emergency. He’s going to stay away from his work day. T.J. McFarland, who allowed the game-winning home run yesterday, will be available.
-- Matt Wieters is getting an off day today in a day-after-night game. Showalter likes the idea of giving Wieters a day off before an off day to essentially give Wieters two days off. Wieters leads all major league catchers with 882 1/3 innings played.
Here are today’s starting lineups:
Nick Markakis RF
Manny Machado 3B
Adam Jones CF
Chris Davis 1B
J.J. Hardy SS
Steve Pearce LF
Taylor Teagarden C
Brian Roberts 2B
Chris Tillman RHP
Gerardo Parra RF
Martin Prado LF
Paul Goldschmidt 1B
Aaron Hill 2B
Matt Davidson 3B
Wil Nieves C
A.J. Pollock CF
Didi Gregorius SS
Patrick Corbin LHP