Top starters lined up for Boston series
Pearce to have surgery Wednesday; Miley says he’s feeling better
If you go by the old adage that good pitching beats good hitting, this week’s four-game series featuring two of the most prolific offenses in the American League should produce quite a battle at Camden Yards.
Boston, with its high-priced rotation, is supposed to be set up this way. But manager Buck Showalter said the way the Orioles rotation is lined up, with its top four starters — Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman, a resurgent Ubaldo Jimenez, and a healthy Chris Tillman — all pitching well and scheduled to face Boston, is a happy coincidence.
“I’m sure Boston will have something to say about the reliability,” Showalter said. “They’ve been pitching competitively for us, and giving us a chance to win. Pitching in the American League, the American League East, is really, really hard. It’s hard, pitching. I think because of the age and some of our guys, the experience level with [Gausman] and Bundy, we’re hoping Chris is all right. Ubaldo has been pitching better — we’ll see.”
Those four are matched up with Rick Porcello, Eduardo Rodriguez, Clay Buchholz and David Price. Both rotations have stabilized in the second half of the season after rocky starts.
Orioles first baseman Chris Davis said the emergence of so many reliable starters beside Tillman has been a boost for the Orioles.
“I think that we always knew that the potential was there, especially with Ubaldo, because he’s got a good track record,” Davis said. “I think we expected Kevin and Dylan to learn and make the adjustments, but the fact that they did that so quickly has been huge for us. It’s really given us a shot in the arm. I’m excited to see it.”
In September, the Orioles rotation has a 4.19 ERA, fourth in the AL, and behind Boston’s 4.05 September ERA. Boston’s ERA since the All-Star break (3.75) is the best in the AL. The Orioles’ second-half ERA is 4.44, ninth best in the AL. Showalter Pearce to have surgery Wednesday: With Steve Pearce set to undergo season-ending flexor tendon repair surgery on his right arm Wednesday, Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said the club was well aware of the physical limitations Pearce had when he returned to Baltimore in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Pearce is scheduled to take a train to New York on Wednesday, where he will have the surgery. He will need four to six months to recover, Showalter said.
Pearce played in just 25 games with the Orioles after they acquired him Aug. 1, with two separate aggravations of the flexor mass injury robbing him of playing time, the most recent a week ago in Boston.
He hit .217 with a .729 OPS and three home runs in 70 plate appearances with the Orioles.
Duquette said the team knew Pearce’s medical history well. He enjoyed his best career years with the Orioles from 2012 through 2015.
“We reviewed the medical and we know Steve Pearce, we had him,” Duquette said. “Unfortunately, he had an injury with us that made things considerably worse than when he came. We had a good idea [of his health], but having said that, we expected that he would finish the season and help us in the playoffs.” Miley much better: Showalter seemed surprised when relaying information that left-hander Wade Miley, who was initially diagnosed with upper back cramps and later assessed to have a mild muscle strain after leaving Sunday’s game after four shutout innings, was much better Monday.
“He went out and threw and feels pretty good, so we’re hoping it’s more the original diagnosis [of cramps] than the latter [muscle strain],” Showalter said. “We’ll see.” Around the horn: The Orioles announced a two-year contract extension with the Aberdeen IronBirds to keep their Short-A New York-Penn League affiliate local through 2018. Aberdeen was the only Orioles affiliate up for renewal this season.
Starters: D-backs’ Miller (2-12, 7.10) or TBA vs. Miley (8-13, 5.65) or TBA