Orioles pregame notes: Showalter has decision to make with final turn through rotation

Jon Meoli
Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun
It's becoming increasingly clear that despite recent success, one Orioles starter has made his last start.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter said it’s unclear whether all six of the team’s starting pitchers will make a start over the final six games of the season, or whether one has started for the last time.

Kevin Gausman and Chris Tillman are on track to start Tuesday and Wednesday in Toronto, and Dylan Bundy has to make it through Sunday’s start to know when his next will be.

But if you assume Gausman will come back for Game 162 on Sunday, Oct. 2 in New York, there might be a situation where there’s no rotation turn for Ubaldo Jimenez, Wade Miley, or Yovani Gallardo.

“I’m waiting to gather all of the information, then I think [pitching coach Dave Wallace] and [bullpen coach Dom Chiti] and I will sit down after the game today to make those decision now that we’ve gathered all the information,” Showalter said.

“I’ve been looking at everybody’s numbers in Toronto. I’ve been looking at everybody’s numbers against Toronto, generally. Some of those numbers are skewed because there’s three good outings and one just real stinker. Which one? Then you’ve got some guys that are pitching well. Are you going to get a different guy? Which one of those do you put the most weight on? I think it’s a little bit of everything. Then all of a sudden, a baby factors in and changes things.”

Miley was supposed to go on paternity leave and miss the Toronto series, but the current plan is for him to wait until the due date of his wife, Katy, which is Oct. 7. He allowed just one run Saturday in 8 2/3 innings against Arizona, narrowly missing a complete game shutout, and has now allowed one run in 12 2/3 innings over his last two starts.

Jimenez has a 2.85 ERA in six starts since returning to the rotation, and Gallardo overcame another long layoff to allow two runs in six innings in Friday’s win over Arizona.

However, each has had his issues with Toronto specifically, and has a season ERA over five this season.

“You try to take it all in,” Showalter said. “You use some of the other stuff as tiebreakers, then all of a sudden, you also have to figure that this guys has been pitching real well, but he’s sitting around for eight days. Which one is it? I think what hits me is there’s no perfect scenario, so you just weigh the things you think are most important. Wade’s coming off two good starts, Ubaldo has been pitching well, and Gallardo’s been pitching. You also can out-think yourself. At some point, you’ve got to make a decision, because the players need to know.”

Schoop slump put in perspective: Showalter said one of his conversations about the death of Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez was with second baseman Jonathan Schoop, whose slump has worsened as September rolled on.

The perspective, Showalter said, made him realize how petty his frustrations are.

“Sometimes, you remind a guy how many contributions he makes every night, regardless of what he does offensively,” Showalter said. “He wants to so [bad]. We’re having challenges at times controlling our want-to. The game slows down and gets real easy sometimes. I tell the guys all the time, when you’re going real good, don’t write down what you’re doing mechanically. That stuff comes and goes. What are you feeling? What’s your mentality when you’re going through BP and the game starts, what are you feeling. Those are the things you have to remind yourself of. Your brain gets in the way of a lot of other things. But Jon, it’s funny. He’s gone through some periods where all of a sudden, out of nowhere, it clicks for a week. This time of year, you’re always hoping that the next game is that day it starts. We know we’re a better team with Jon on the field.”

Controlling your destiny: Showalter maintained that the Orioles don’t scoreboard watch, but said there’s some truth to the idea that it’s nicer to be in control of your own destiny, as they are.

“We’re just tunneled, as you know, to that nine innings,” Showalter said. “When all the smoke clears, we’ll see if any strategy so to speak may change from day to day. But I’m sure there will be some people who make a big deal of that factor, and they’re right, I’m sure mathematically. But I’m not paying attention to it."

jmeoli@baltsun.com

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