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Orioles Hope To Quickly Forget About Painful Road Trip

May 18, 2017
When the Orioles return to Camden Yards May 19, they will try and forget their roughest stretch of the 2017 season. In a three-city trip May 10-18, they lost six of seven, and all six were one-run losses.
 
In many of the losses, it was a familiar story: a short start and not enough hitting to win.
 
In their 6-5 loss to the Detroit Tigers May 18, right-hander Dylan Bundy saw his streak of eight consecutive quality starts end. Bundy allowed six runs in six innings.
 
Right-handers Brad Brach and Darren O'Day didn't see much action during the road trip. Brach appeared just twice, in the first game May 10 when he allowed a game-winning two-run single to Washington Nationals catcher Matt Wieters, and May 16 when the Orioles defeated the Tigers, 13-11, in 13 innings.
 
O'Day saw action May 16, after being held out for a week with a tired right shoulder.
 
Other bullpen mainstays didn't pitch well. Mychal Givens walked the bases loaded in the seventh inning May 16, and the right-hander didn't pitch the next two games.
 
Left-hander Donnie Hart, who had been strong during the final two months of 2016, hasn't repeated that performance and was sent to Triple-A Norfolk.
 
In light of the May 16 debacle, which lasted five hours, 19 minutes, manager Buck Showalter finally decided he needed a seven-man bullpen.
 
Outfielder Craig Gentry, a Showalter favorite, was outrighted to Norfolk, and catcher Francisco Pena, who was carried for an extra day after Welington Castillo was activated, was jettisoned. The team added right-handers Stefan Crichton and Miguel Castro.
 
Castro has pitched three scoreless innings during the past two games, and he might be a victim of his own success. He could be swapped out for the upcoming series against the Toronto Blue Jays.
 
For the moment, the Orioles have one left-hander, Richard Bleier, on the roster. Left-handers Andrew Faulkner and Paul Fry, who have yet to pitch for the Orioles, are both on the 40-man roster. Fry was recalled for two days last month, but he never appeared in a game.
 
With Gentry and Pena off the 40-man roster, it now has two vacancies, which could be filled in the coming days by outfielder Michael Bourn and right-handed pitcher Edwin Jackson.
 
Outfielder Hyun Soo Kim continues to do his share of watching, starting just once since May 5. If the Orioles want to add Bourn -- with his gifts of speed and defense, and like Kim is a left-handed hitter -- could Kim's time with the Orioles be near an end?
 
Kim's $4.2 million salary might not be attractive to some suitors, but he could be an ideal National League player because he'd be able to pinch hit regularly.
 
Right fielder Seth Smith, who hit his 10th home run off a left-handed pitcher in 500 career at-bats May 18, fouled a ball off his eye, and Showalter told reporters in Detroit Smith's vision was blurry, and Kim would have pinch hit for him if his turn came up in the ninth inning.
 
Third baseman Manny Machado sat out the final game of the series due to a sore finger. That leaves designated hitter Mark Trumbo as the only Oriole to play in all 39 games. Center fielder Adam Jones sat out May 14 with a sore hip.
 
Perhaps the only good news to come out of this trip, which was one game shorter than scheduled because of a rainout in Washington May 11, was that first baseman Chris Davis began hitting.
 
Davis had five home runs on the road trip, including a two-run shot May 18 that was the 250th of his career. He has nine in 2017, but his first seven were solo shots.
 
The Orioles play 15 of their next 18 games at home, beginning with the Blue Jays. At 13-3, the Orioles have the fewest home losses in the majors, and with some longer outings from their starting pitchers, they might be able to put what just happened in Washington, Kansas City and Detroit behind them.