If you blinked, you missed Brad Bergesen's brief return to the major leagues. He was called up yesterday as long relief insurance and then still not used even though Zach Britton only went for four innings. You might think the Orioles would like a long relief option today, with Five Runs All Earned: The Tommy Hunter Story returning to the MLB roster to make a start, but Bergesen was DFA'd to make room for Hunter on the roster.
So, yes, that means that the bullpen that has been forced to throw something like five thousand innings since the second half of the season began has had its long man jettisoned when tonight's starter has a 6.11 ERA. Now, Tommy Hunter sucks, but one thing you can say about him is that he's gone at least six innings in ten of his starts this year, even while he sucked. The O's, it seems, will be planning to leave him out to dry for at least that long tonight, so hopefully he doesn't really suck. An early exit by Hunter would mean he has done REALLY bad, meaning the O's would face a huge deficit in the game and still have to kill their bullpen.
Here's some good news. The Twins starter is Francisco Liriano. That name might strike fear into your heart, but he's actually not having a good year. He has a 4.93 ERA. Last year, he had a 5.09 ERA. He also had a BB/9 over 5 last year and has one over 5 this year as well. The problem with this good news is that, after watching the suckfest that has been the Orioles offense for the last month or so, we cannot have any measure of confidence that the O's will make Liriano pay for this lack of control - and even in spite of the poor ERA and walk rate, he's struck out 97 batters in 91.1 IP. The O's don't lead the world in strikeouts any more (they still do in GIDPs, don't worry) but they are near the top.
If there were going to be keys for the game tonight it might go something like this:
SCORE SOME FREAKING RUNS
HUNTER'S ALL-YOU-CAN-PITCH BUFFET
SAVE THE BULLPEN
Those are the keys. I seem to be locked out. Black clouds hang in the sky. Thunder rumbles ominously, and the air crackles with electricity. It was nice remembering you, winning baseball. Maybe we'll see you again some day.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||MINNESOTA TWINS|
|Nick Markakis - RF||Denard Span - CF|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Ben Revere - RF|
|Adam Jones - CF||Joe Mauer - DH|
|Matt Wieters - DH||Josh Willingham - LF|
|Mark Reynolds - 1B||Justin Morneau - 1B|
|Steve Pearce - LF||Trevor Plouffe - 3B|
|Wilson Betemit - 3B||Brian Dozier - SS|
|Taylor Teagarden - C||Drew Butera - C|
|Steve Tolleson - 2B||Jamey Carroll - 2B|