The Baltimore Orioles are just 2 1/2 games behind for both AL Wildcard spots with 13 games remaining and essentially control their own destiny, but the recent string of injuries could have a major impact on Baltimore's chances.
For the most part, the Orioles have been pretty fortunate this season with avoiding the major injury bug. Yes, they lost Brian Roberts for a significant period of time and began the season without Wilson Betemit, but it's not like the Orioles had Chris Davis, Adam Jones or Manny Machado go down.
Coming down the stretch though, the Orioles are slowly seeing some injuries affect them on the field.
One of, if not the best reliever in the Orioles bullpen over the past two years, O'Day has only pitched twice since August 28th and has been dealing with soreness and tingling in his index and middle fingers on his right hand. O'Day did not accompany the Orioles during their trip to Toronto and before the trip, manager Buck Showalter commented on O'Day's status,
"There's some pain there. We're just trying to get ahead of it, to be frank with you, because you won't see him in Toronto. We're just trying to get our hands around what's causing it, because they've done a lot of structural tests, they've done a lot of blood and nerve. Just trying to get an idea of exactly what's causing it." Showalter said. "His fingers are sore at certain times. It's kind of gone back and forth. He had a couple days where it didn't bother him at all, and then it came back again."
O'Day's absence has been apparent, and the team has missed seeing the sidewinder coming out of the bullpen. Darren has posted a 5-3 record with a 2.28 ERA in 63 appearances, with 46 hits, 14 walks and 57 strikeouts in 59 1/3 innings this season. Last season it seemed any time the Orioles needed a tough out in a crucial situation, O'Day was the one that would be brought into the game, whether on short rest or long rest. It is going to be tough for Baltimore if O'Day cannot return to the Birds' bullpen for this final stretch run.
Yesterday, Gonzalez was pitching pretty darn well, but in the sixth inning, he was removed from the game due to a strained right groin. Although he will be re-evaluated this week, right now it is considered a strong possibility that he will miss his next start. Gonzalez missed some time earlier this season, and if he misses a start or even two, that is going to be a huge loss for the Orioles starting rotation, who has pitched extremely well as of late. Gonzalez picked up the win yesterday and is now 10-7 with a 3.92 ERA this season.
When Jason Hammel took the mound Friday night against the Toronto Blue Jays, it simply reminded us of what we were missing in not having Norris available. Hammel got the start because Norris was having his start skipped due to elbow inflammation. Late last week, once it was announced that Norris was being skipped, he had this to say on MASN,
"Yeah, hope so (missing just one start)," Norris said. "Just been doing my treatment and have seen some progress. Anytime you get back on the mound, it has the opportunity to flare back up, but hopefully this extra five days, or whatever it turns out to be, will give me a chance to calm it done. I really just feel it's inflammation. Some wear and tear. Been pitching through it a couple of starts. Hope it is nothing too serious and get back out there when I'm ready."
Gonzalez was not the only Oriole to leave the game early yesterday as McLouth, who did not start the game, came in as a defenisve replacement for Mike Morse, but left the game when he was hit by a Kyle Drabek pitch to the knee. McLouth had X'Rays done and they came back negative. McLouth said after the game that he was fine and will be ready to play on Tuesday.
With McLouth appearing to be fine, that is a big break for the Orioles as they will face three right handed pitchers in their upcoming series against the Boston Red Sox. O'Day's availability will be one of those things that do not show up in box scores that will be a huge factor in every game. If Gonzalez is unavailable for his next start, that will be a big blow to the starting rotation, especially if Norris remains unavailable, as then the Birds will be looking at guys such as Kevin Gausman or Zach Britton possibly making a start in a vastly important series against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Be sure to "like" our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Orioles101
Add us on Google+ Orioles101
Follow us on Twitter for live in game updates and all Orioles breaking news @Orioles_101
Your man cave is your home field advantage for every game. When the game is on the line, you should be able to look around and be reminded of the great moments you've watched unfold in that very room! MJR Sports Integrity offers a wide range or team and player-specific memorabilia that can do just that and take your game day room to the next level. Find your inspiration at MJR Sports Integrity and will your team to victory!
- Top AL Wildcard Contenders Making Playoff Race a Tight One
- Is a Six Man Rotation the Answer for the Baltimore Orioles Down the Stretch?
- Adam Jones’ Four Hits Leads Baltimore Orioles to 4-1 Victory in San Diego
- Jim Johnson Blows Sixth Save of the Season, New York Yankees Walkoff 3-2 Over Baltimore Orioles
Short URL: http://sport-ne.ws/10u4