Gabriel Ynoa's Orioles debut worthy of an encore, but numbers aren't in his favor

Orioles right-hander Gabriel Ynoa started mentally preparing to enter the game when Wade Miley was hit for the first time, and by the second time, he'd found a head space that helped him make quite an impression in his Orioles debut.

Ynoa gave the club six innings of scoreless relief after taking over under unusual and unfortunate circumstances, seizing a chance he knew would come eventually but came quicker than anyone thought.


"Whenever the opportunities come, I just try to take advantage of those opportunities," Ynoa said through translator Ramon Alarcon. "That's why I'm hoping for more opportunities, to show what I can do."

As ever, manager Buck Showalter disagreed with how Ynoa had to get ready on the field in front of his opponents, who got a full view of his fastball-slider-changeup mix. But it didn't do them much good.

Ynoa managed 13 swinging strikes — fifth most of any Orioles pitcher in an outing this season — and kept the White Sox off balance with his slider against a heavily right-handed lineup.

He allowed two-out hits in the second, third, fifth and seventh innings, but closed the book on all of them without a blemish against him. Ynoa struck out five in six innings of six-hit shutout ball.

"I feel excellent," Ynoa said. "I feel very good. Thank God for the opportunity. I was able to keep my ball really low in the zone all night, so I'm really thankful for that."

"It's one thing to be available to pitch long, it's another thing to be effective enough to pitch long, which he was," Showalter said. "We talked to them in spring. It's great to be able to tell them things in spring that come to pass. Guys know they're going to get an opportunity and they're ready to take advantage of it. It's been big for us so far."

However, like some of the fill-ins such as Alec Asher, Tyler Wilson and Jayson Aquino before him, the reality is the Orioles are again without a long reliever in the bullpen, and Ynoa might not get to stick around long. Showalter said a plan was in motion to get another pitcher up, though they have to also keep in mind Chris Tillman must be activated Sunday.

They have some disabled list options if they want to pull a quick trigger with Ynoa, who cramped up in the sixth inning, and closer Zach Britton, who is having problems issues with his strained left forearm. But Showalter wants those two options to be available sooner than 10 days out rather than get a better candidate from the minors who is inside 10 days after being optioned to the minors.

Those who are currently disqualified because it hasn't been 10 days since they went down include Aquino, Asher, Wilson, Mike Wright, Richard Bleier, Logan Verrett and Vidal Nuño.

Chris Lee pitched 3 1/3 innings Wednesday and might be available in a short stint. Jesus Liranzo is struggling to find the strike zone at Double-A Bowie, and recently acquired duo of Miguel Castro and Andrew Faulkner aren't in games yet.

That leaves left-hander Paul Fry — who isn't known for providing length — as the long bullpen option.

Either way, it will be an undeserved assignment for Ynoa if it comes to that. Showalter seems to be getting used to them — he has done it with Bleier, Asher and Wilson in the past three days.

Showalter said: "It's like that conversation I had to have with Tyler Wilson today. 'Nice going, you know what your reward for that was, right?' He said, 'A plane ride.'"