When it rains, it pours.
Only it has nothing to do with the day-long rain that postponed the Orioles’ series opener against the Texas Rangers on Friday night.
There’s another name to add to the Orioles’ ever-growing infirmary report with the startling news of Brian Roberts being taken to a local hospital because of stomach pains. Roberts would have been the second starting infielder in as many days — the other being J.J. Hardy due to a ribcage injury on Thursday — to become a late scratch had the weather not forced a cancellation in what was supposed to be rookie Zach Britton’s home debut.
Roberts’ status for Saturday’s straight doubleheader is unknown, and Hardy was not going to be in the lineup for the second straight night Friday. Both Hardy and manager Buck Showalter said the shortstop’s status is day-to-day, and a trip to the 15-day disabled list does not appear to be necessary, but it’s hard to feel encouraged about anything given the recent chain of events in Baltimore.
If Roberts and Hardy are unavailable, the Orioles would be forced to go with the double-play combination of Robert Andino and Cesar Izturis.
This comes immediately after the return of left fielder Luke Scott who missed three games this week after going down with a groin injury last Saturday in Tampa Bay.
Roberts with stomach pain? Jeremy Guthrie with pneumonia? Brian Matusz going on the disabled list before even throwing a pitch in the 2011 season?
What’s next? Showalter tripping on the dugout steps making a pitching change?
The positive vibes of a 5-1 start only go so far before taking a look at the current state of the roster.
With Britton pitching the first game Saturday against Colby Lewis and Jake Arrieta taking the hill against Matt Harrison in the nightcap, the Orioles are desperately looking for two deep outings to save a tired bullpen that managed to receive a night off due to the rain. A heavy workload in the twin bill would place the bullpen in an even more vulnerable position than it was entering Friday. Troy Patton has been put on alert for a promotion, but the left-hander isn’t eligible to be recalled until Sunday due to the rule forbidding players on the 40-man roster to be recalled until 10 days into the regular season.
To further complicate the pitching situation, Guthrie’s status remains up in the air after he threw a successful bullpen session Friday. It’s unknown whether he’ll make his start Sunday as he continues to regain stamina after being hospitalized earlier this week.
If Guthrie is unable to go, the Orioles will likely turn to Norfolk pitcher Chris Jakubauskas to take the hill in his place. Who he replaces on the 25-man roster is anyone’s guess.
What a mess.
And with the powerful Texas lineup getting an extra night’s rest in rainy Baltimore Friday night, things could get ugly very quickly this weekend against the 6-0 Rangers.
Hold on tight.