Whoever doesn’t start Saturday could be a long relief option in the bullpen, but there is a situation where the Orioles could need to adjust their probables because of a family illness involving one pitcher, manager Buck Showalter said.
“There’s some ill health, it’s something they might need to shoot home for,” Showalter said. “It could affect us and our ability to go different directions here.”
Darren O’Day is available in relief tonight. Showalter said he wasn’t going to use O’Day on Wednesday.
Rookie right-hander Kevin Gausman, who struck out five in two perfect innings Wednesday, has accounted for some of O’Day’s late-inning set-up opportunities of late, but now that O’Day is back, Showalter isn't saying that Gausman will go back to a long-relief role.
"I’m not going to sit and let a player get boxholed into one role or whatever,” Showalter said. “Let’s see how the game dictates [it]. … Each game presents a different challenge depending on how we had to use people the last two or three nights. We’ve got some quick turnaround games, some crazy starting times in Tampa.”
Left-handers Zach Britton and Tsuyoshi Wada were each scheduled to throw two innings in simulated game in Sarasota, Fla., and will be available in case they’re needed in Tampa this weekend.
Showalter chose to pinch hit Steve Pearce against left-hander Franklin Morales in the 12th inning Wednesday instead of Michael Morse, who is 3-for-24 since the Orioles acquired him in a trade with the Mariners.
“It could be different tonight,” Showalter said. “It’s one of the reasons we made his addition. [Pearce is] a little bit more experienced at pinch hitting and he’s had some contributions in this ballpark. … I thought it was a good matchup with Morales.”
Tonight’s Orioles starter, right-hander Chris Tillman, owns the lowest career ERA against Boston (2.15) among starters with a minimum of 50 innings pitched, according to STATS.
He can become the first Orioles pitcher to win 17 games in a season since Mike Mussina won 18 in 1999.
Here are tonight’s starting lineups: