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BALTIMORE – The Orioles haven’t won a series since they won the rubber game against the Cincinnati Reds on June 26th. They look to snap that streak today as they take on the Blue Jays at Camden Yards behind their most impressive pitcher of late, Alfredo Simon.
In Simon’s last four starts, he has given up just 8 runs in 25.2 innings. As Buck Showalter likes to say, he has seized his opportunity and ran with it. When the O’s have desperately needed a starter to give them quality innings, Alfredo Simon has stepped up.
“He’s pitching real well as a starter and especially with some of our injuries,” said Buck Showalter. “It’s worked out well. He’s been able to defend himself against left handed hitters for the most part.”
Showalter continued discussing Simon’s recent success.
“It seemed like last year in the bullpen he got a little defensive and…always seemed to go to the breaking ball….he kind of got away from his fastball,” Showalter said. “He’s been able to set that up and pitch more aggressively with it which has been able to set some other pitches up. I think he’s gotten more confident with the fastball as a starter.”
On a day when the Orioles are feeling good about the effort they saw from Chris Tillman on Saturday night, another quality outing by Simon along with a series win would certainly represent one of the better days of late here in Birdland.
Opposing Simon will be Ricky Romero. Romero has established himself as one of the better starters in baseball, sporting a mediocre 9-9 record but more importantly pitching to an ERA under 3 runs a game.
Just 10 days ago, Romero pitched into the ninth inning against the Birds in Toronto, going 8.1 innings allowing just four hits and three walks while striking out nine Orioles. Romero has started 11 games against the O’s over his career, going 5-3 with a 3.19 ERA.
Chris Davis and JJ Hardy update
“We’re progressing,” Showalter said. “We’re excited about what we got back from the CT Scan (J.J. Hardy) and the MRI (Chris Davis). We feel like it’s pretty imminent that they’re back on the field shortly.”
On Kevin Gregg’s leadership in locker-room
Buck was asked if it was rare that a relief pitcher can be such a mentor to all pitchers, relievers and even starters, in the locker-room.
“If you look at his background and the things he’s been through in his career to establish himself, there are reasons why those things happen,” Showalter said. “Kind of like the reason why the situation found him in Boston. He gets it. Kevin gets it. He understands the ups and downs and he also will call BS. He’s the voice of reality. If your looking for someone to tell you what you want to hear he’s the wrong guy. If you want to get an answer about reality then go sit down.”
Showalter believes Gregg is a great resource for young pitchers on and off the field.
“He’s very popular, I think he is, to most people,” Showalter said. “It’s kind of revealing the people that don’t seek him out, in a way. He’s not a guy that’s always initiating, but if you ask, he’ll try to help. But he knows he’s got challenges too that he’s attacking.”
O’s fans hope Gregg will get a chance on Sunday to close down the series for the Birds in the ninth inning.
Here are today’s lineups:
SS: Robert Andino
RF: Nick Markakis
CF: Adam Jones
DH: Vladimir Guerrero
1B: Mark Reynolds
LF: Nolan Reimold
C: Craig Tatum
3B: Josh Bell
2B: Cesar Izturis
SP: Alfredo Simon
LF: Rajai Davis
SS: Yunel Escobar
RF: Jose Bautista
DH: Adam Lind
1B: Edwin Encarnacion
CF: Colby Rasmus
C: J.P. Arencibia
2B: John McDonald
3B: Brett Lawrie
SP: Ricky Romero