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Why didn't Buck Showalter use Zach Britton in extra-inning wild-card loss?

Why didn't Buck Showalter use Zach Britton in extra-inning wild-card loss?

TORONTO — For four innings, the question was obvious.

Why wasn’t the best reliever in baseball this season not in the most important game of the season? 

Zach Britton stood in the bullpen and watched as the Baltimore Orioles season ended abruptly

The Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays were tied 2-2, and as the innings went on, manager Buck Showalter used reliever after reliever. 


By the time, Ubaldo Jimenez came into the game in the 11th inning, Showalter only had three of his nine eligible relief pitchers left: Dylan Bundy, Tommy Hunter, and Britton, who had 47 consecutive saves. 

Instead, Jimenez came into the wild-card game, gave up singles to Devon Travis and Josh Donaldson, and after Showalter came to the mound, Edwin Encarnacion launched a home run into the left field stands, and the Orioles were headed home for the long winter. 

The Blue Jays’ 5-2 win over the Orioles before a raucous crowd of 49,934 at Rogers Centre on Tuesday night, sends Toronto to Arlington, Tex. for an American League Division Series with the Rangers. 

Until the Orioles gather again next February, there will be loud debates about why Britton wasn’t in the game. 

“You can use Zach Britton in the seventh and eighth inning and not have anybody to pitch the last inning,” Showalter said. 

“There’s a lot of risk taken every inning, every pitch. You take that on when you get in this format.”

The Orioles had just four hits in 11 innings, none in the last 5 1/3. 

No lead, no Britton.

“I’m sure we were planning on scoring a run and getting him in there, we just couldn’t score a run,” Matt Wieters said. 

Britton warmed up, but mostly just watched. 

“It was frustrating, but that’s not my call. The guys ahead of me threw really well. Ubaldo has thrown great recently, so there was no doubt in my mind he was going to go out there and throw some zeroes. They’ve got the best part of their lineup coming up and you knew eventually one of these teams were gonna score, let’s be honest about it,” Britton said. 

The possible Cy Young award winner always wants to be in. 

“I was expecting it in certain situation, maybe if there was an opportunity for a double play ball in a big situation Whether or not we were ahead, behind or whatever. Coming into today they told me to be ready to go, multiple innings if need be,” Briitton said. 

Instead of Britton, it was Jimenez, who allowed just one run in seven innings five days ago in Toronto. Jimenez pitched brilliantly once Chris Tillman was sidelined with shoulder soreness, but had only pitched in the bullpen eight times in his 11-season career, four this season. 

“It’s not an excuse. As a professional, you’re trying to do the best you can in the position they put you, but it’s not my best. I’m trying to do the best I could out there,” Jimenez said. 

The game was marred when a beer can was thrown at Hyun Soo Kim as he caught Melvin Upton Jr.'s fly ball in the seventh. 

Otherwise, it was a terrific game, with the roof open for the first time at a postseason game at Rogers Centre. 

“This was as action-packed, as you could have hoped for as far as the crowd being into it, us feeling good about where we were and that’s kind of the nature of a one-game playoff. One side is going to go home pretty angry,” Trumbo said. 

Trumbo’s two-run home run off Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman in the fourth was the Orioles offense. Once Manny Machado singled with two outs in the sixth, the offense shut down. 

The chatter was that the Orioles couldn’t wait to get into the Toronto bullpen, but the Orioles could do nothing with it. 

Francisco Liriano, who was an option to start, was the winner, recording five outs after Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna left with shoulder tightness.

It was a great game overall. We can definitely say we left it out on the field, but we came up short. It’s just a bummer how it finished and that’s just how it is,” Machado said. 

Trumbo is a free agent, and he said he’d like to return.

“Who wouldn’t? It’s been an absolute blast this year, I would say. I had a great time,” Trumbo said. 

If he comes back, he’ll return to a veteran core of players led by Adam Jones, who has been in the postseason three times, but has fallen short of a World Series each time. 

“They all sting unless you win it, right?” Jones said. “It [stinks] to lose, on the road, it’s all loud, but it doesn’t matter where you lose, you lose,” he said. 

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Orioles agree to one-year deal with pitcher Chris Tillman, according to reports

USA Today Sports

Orioles agree to one-year deal with pitcher Chris Tillman, according to reports

SARASOTA, Fla. -- A person familiar with the negotiations says pitcher Chris Tillman and the Baltimore Orioles have agreed to a $3 million, one-year contract.

The deal includes performance bonuses, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Monday because the deal had not yet been announced.

Tillman was 1-7 with a 7.84 ERA in 19 starts and five relief appearances last year. He would be the second starter added by the Orioles in the past week after right-hander Andrew Cashner.

Tillman likely would join right-handers Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman and Cashner in the rotation.

The 29-year-old right-hander lives in Sarasota and had been working out at the Orioles' facility before spring training. Manager Buck Showalter watched Tillman throw and was impressed.

Tillman began last season on the disabled list with right shoulder stiffness.

"Better than he did last year at this time. I think he's got the chance to pitch well for somebody this year," Showalter said. "A lot of the challenges he had last year -- this time last year -- aren't there. Somebody's going to reap the benefits."

Tillman's is 73-55 with a 4.43 ERA in nine major league seasons, all with the Orioles. He won 16 games in both 2013 and 2016.

"He's a guy when he's healthy you can bank on him giving you 200 innings and keeping his ERA between a 3 and a 4," Gausman said. "That in the AL East is always going to be very valuable."


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Orioles Spring Training Schedule 2018

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Orioles Spring Training Schedule 2018

Live baseball is close to gracing our television screens again. The Orioles haven't had the most active offseason, to put it mildly. Fans are still wondering who will make up more than half the spots in this year's rotation, and Manny Machado's upcoming free agency is looming over every decision the organization makes.

Still, it's exciting to be able to follow the team again. Not every game is televised, so get ready to constantly refresh your favorite beat writer's Twitter account for all your updates.

Even without getting to watch the games, it'll be comforting to once again check box scores in the morning to see if Jonathan Schoop is building on his breakout season, or if top-prospect Austin Hays is all he's cracked up to be (spoiler: he is).

This year's spring training will be especially interesting, considering how many big-name players will be signing in the next few weeks. The O's haven't yet made a big splash this offseason, but with the sheer volume of capable players still on the market, you have to wonder if they'll try to sign some impact players at bargain values.

Typically, the excitement of adding a new piece to the lineup or rotation has to be reignited after a long winter off, but this season, those additions will be taking place while camp is already underway.

It's going to be a hectic few weeks as teams prepare for thier seasons, so bookmark this page to check on on the Orioles spring training schedule over the next few weeks as the team finally takes the field in 2018.

Orioles 2018 Spring Training Schedule

Friday, Feb. 23 (SS) - Rays at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Saturday, Feb. 24 (SS) - Orioles at Phillies, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Feb. 24 (SS) - Twins at Orioles, 6:05 pm
Sunday, Feb. 25 - Orioles at Red Sox, 1:05 pm 
Monday, Feb. 26 - Tigers at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Feb. 27 - Orioles at Rays, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Feb. 28 - Cardinals at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 1 - Orioles at Rays, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 2 - Pirates at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 3 (SS) - Orioles at Phillies, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 - Red Sox at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Tuesday, Mar. 6 - Orioles at Twins, 1:05 pm 
Wednesday, Mar. 7 - Orioles at Rays, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 8 - Blue Jays at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 9 - Orioles at Blue Jays, 1:07 pm
Saturday, Mar. 10 (SS) - Pirates at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 11 (SS) - Orioles at Red Sox, 1:05 pm 
Sunday, Mar. 11 (SS) - Phillies at Orioles, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Mar. 12 - Orioles at Pirates, 1:05 pm 
Tuesday, Mar. 13 - Orioles at Twins, 1:05 pm 
Wednesday, Mar. 14 - Yankees at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 15 - Orioles at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 16 - Orioles at Mets, 1:10 pm 
Saturday, Mar. 17 (SS) - Blue Jays at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 18 - Mets at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Monday, Mar. 19 - Orioles at Tigers, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 20 - Rays at Orioles, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Wednesday, Mar. 21 - Orioles at Yankees, 6:35 pm 
Thursday, Mar. 22 - Red Sox at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Friday, Mar. 23 (SS) - Rays at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 24 - Twins at Orioles, 6:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 25 - Orioles at Phillies, 1:05 pm 
Monday, Mar. 27 (in Norfolk, VA) - Orioles at Tides (AAA), 3:05 pm