The Orioles have lost two straight frustrating, ugly games, blowing prime opportunities to gain ground on their AL East competition, which has also been losing. The news gets worse for Orioles fans because they finally named a starter for Wednesday’s game. That starter is Ubaldo Jimenez.
Is it very likely that anything has meaningfully changed in the ten days since Jimenez was unceremoniously bounced from a start in the first inning, absolutely unable to do much of anything at all? No. Nor is it very likely that much has changed in the five days since Jimenez allowed five runs in relief.
Really, the only thing that has changed is that instead of facing the Blue Jays, as he did in those two bad outings, he will get to face the Padres instead. The Padres are bad, but then again, it’s not their offense that’s bad, as they demonstrated in Tuesday’s disappointing Orioles loss.
The way everything worked out, there were really no other choices than Jimenez except for maybe Mike Wright, if the Orioles were to place Brian Duensing on the disabled list. Duensing is reportedly dealing with an unspecified elbow issue of some kind and seems like a DL candidate.
There was no one else. Odrisamer Despaigne had to be summoned into Tuesday’s game when Zach Britton couldn’t complete a tune-up inning. Even a longshot like Dylan Bundy was used up pitching three innings in Monday’s game. Every other potential candidate - there were said to be as many as five, though the five weren’t named - seemed to be on the wrong number of days of rest.
With Jimenez starting, the O’s seem likely to make a roster move to fortify the bullpen. Don’t be surprised if that ends up being Wright. Maybe Wright in relief of Jimenez would go better than Jimenez in relief of Wright. Or maybe not. Maybe Jimenez will even surprise us all and pitch a great game.
The Orioles could really use one right now. Not even a bare minimum quality start from Tyler Wilson (six innings, three earned runs) proved to be enough on Tuesday, despite the Orioles scoring seven runs.