Baltimore Orioles’ relievers hurting their trade stock?

I’m on record as saying it might not be a bad idea for the Baltimore Orioles to sell off a couple of bullpen arms to get prospects in return. They could probably get a decent haul for the likes of Darren O’DayZach Britton, or Brad Brach. And if there’s one spot they do have depth, it’s in the ‘pen. In other words, they wouldn’t be leaving the cabinet bare.

However Britton gave up two runs in the ninth inning on Thursday, and O’Day blew a save last night. This on the heels of a second consecutive solid start by Chris Tillman, who’s slowly progressing back to what he should be. Tillman’s line: 5.1 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 5 K.

Following a one hour rain delay, the Orioles and Houston engaged in a pitcher’s duel. Unfortunately for Tillman and the Birds, Houston struck first – as well as last. Bregman’s solo homer in the fifth gave them a 1-0 lead. However come the last of that fifth inning, Adam Jones smacked a two-run homer and the Orioles suddenly led 2-1. That was followed up by a two-run homer off the bat of Schoop, and the Birds appeared in the driver’s seat.

But Houston is relentless, and the Orioles should know that. Gurriel ended up with a two-run homer that was reviewed by the umpires in the sixth. They ruled that the ball had in fact gone over the scoreboard in right field, and that cut the lead to 4-3. That also brought O’Day into the game in place of Tillman.

O’Day gave up two seemingly innocent and softly-hit singles, bringing Houston’s Moran to the plate. Moran ended up fouling a ball off his eye, and had to be taken off on a cart after a lengthy delay – after which O’Day wasn’t really the same. Gonzalez finished the at-bat, and ended up smacking  three-run homer to give Houston a 6-4 lead. They would add an RBI-single and a sac fly-RBI in the ninth to cruise to an 8-4 victory.

First off, the means are usually the same with the Orioles. A team gets a soft base hit or a walk, and it snowballs from there. Teams such as Houston don’t do business the way that AL East teams do. They don’t look to power you out of the ballpark. They see each base runner as a precious commodity, and they know they have a shot at getting a run each time someone gets on base. The Orioles need to start minimizing that type of damage.

But as I said above, are the O’s risking trade values? All relievers and quite frankly all players are going to have bad days. So you have to look at it from the perspective of their overall track record. However teams are going to do whatever they possibly can to lower the price.

If that means calling into question someone’s most recent outing and trying to argue that means more than a track record assumed over years of play, that’s what they’re going to do. The trade deadline is one week from tomorrow. So with that said and with the team heading out on the road after today’s game, someone might be appearing for the last time as an Oriole at Camden Yards today.

The Birds will try to salvage one game with Houston in this afternoon’s series finale. Dylan Bundy gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Houston’s Lance McCullers. Game time is set for just after 1:30 PM.

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