Ejection leaves Orioles’ starter TBA for finale vs. Sox
BOSTON — A questionable ejection has thrown Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter’s pitching plans for Thursday’s series finale against the Boston Red Sox out the window.
Showalter had planned to start Ubaldo Jimenez, but the right-hander was forced into action when Wednesday’s starter, Kevin Gausman, was tossed for plunking Boston’s Xander Bogaerts.
The umpires were on high alert after Red Sox ace Chris Sale threw at Baltimore’s Manny Machado on Tuesday. Home plate umpire Sam Holbrook had a quick trigger and immediately threw Gausman out in Wednesday’s second inning.
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But was Gausman trying to hit Bogaerts? The fact that the pitch that hit Bogaerts was a 76 mph slider and not a fastball, as is usually the case in beanings, leaves some doubt.
Baltimore’s Adam Jones was also sent to the showers in the fifth inning for arguing balls and strikes with Holbrook.
“It’s frustrating to lose anybody,” Showalter said. “Sam’s a good umpire. He’s trying to do what he thinks is right, and obviously we’re biased. We know the sincerity of the intent.
“Obviously (Gausman is not) trying to hit anybody. You’ve got a (76) mph pitch compared to (Sale’s 98 mph) pitch (Tuesday). You figure it out.”
Jimenez pitched three scoreless innings of relief Wednesday in a Baltimore’s 4-2 loss. Showalter did not name a starter for Thursday’s game, but he said the team has a contingency plan in place.
Gausman told reporters that he could pitch again Thursday, but he had not talked to Showalter.
Two other options could be right-handers Tyler Wilson and Gabriel Ynoa of Triple-A Norfolk. Wilson pitched last Friday while Ynoa pitched last Saturday.
Wilson is 1-1 with a 2.61 ERA in five prior outings (two starts) against the Red Sox. Ynoa has never faced them.
Boston will send right-hander Kyle Kendrick to the mound Thursday. Kendrick takes the spot of injured knuckleballer Steven Wright (left knee sprain), who may be headed for surgery.
The 32-year-old veteran had a strong spring with the Red Sox, going 4-0 with a 2.18 ERA and 31 strikeouts in eight appearances (seven starts).
But Kendrick struggled in his first two starts with Triple-A Pawtucket, going 0-2 while allowing 16 runs (15 earned) over 13 innings for a 9.64 ERA.
He has since settled down, posting a quality start of three runs in seven innings on April 21 before tossing seven scoreless frames with five punch-outs in a win last Friday.
“He was a strong recommendation by the Pawtucket staff there,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “I feel like there’s a certain level of dependability with Kyle, a known commodity, and he was the choice made (to fill in for Wright).”
Kendrick spent the first eight seasons of his career (2007-14) with the Philadelphia Phillies before joining the Colorado Rockies in 2015. He did not pitch in 2016.
In 253 outings (212 starts), Kendrick is 81-81 with a 4.63 ERA. He has never faced Baltimore and pitched two scoreless innings of relief in his only prior appearance at Fenway.