With Brian Matusz coming back Wednesday and a few off days coming up, the Orioles shipped out both Brad Bergesen and Chris Tillman on Sunday and will go with a four-man rotation for now.
Bergesen, who had the highest ERA of the Orioles’ five starters this year, was the obvious choice to go to make room for Matusz. He was 1-6 with a 5.36 ERA in nine starts and one relief appearance. He actually pitched his first career shutout against the Rays just two weeks ago, but the Orioles had lost his eight other starts this season.
Tillman’s departure is a surprise. He had a 1.33 ERA in his last four starts, though it’s worth noting that he pitched a total of 20 1/3 innings in those games. For the season, he was 2-3 with a 4.69 ERA in 10 starts.
The Orioles don’t have anyone in Triple-A worthy of an opportunity — Norfolk’s only starter with a sub-5.00 ERA is veteran lefty Chris George and he’s at 4.66 — so odds are that Tillman will return as soon as the team goes back to five starters.
Mets manager Terry Collins says that he has scratched Noah Syndergaard, who was supposed to start this afternoon’s game against the Braves. In his place will go Matt Harvey.
Syndergaard, Collins says, has “tired arm.” But also says he has some discomfort in his right biceps. He will have an MRI, but Syndergaard says it’s not serious and that he could pitch as soon as Sunday. Collins says this is an abundance-of-caution type thing, saying “we can’t take a chance on this guy.” Which is true.
The Mets ace is 1-1 with a 1.73 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 26 innings. He has walked no one this year. Not a soul.
James Paxton of the Mariners is 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA, 39 strikeouts and only six walks in 32.1 innings of work over five starts. Last night he shut the Tigers down, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing only four hits. With Felix Hernandez looking less than king-like lately, Paxton is asserting himself as the new ace of the Seattle staff.
And now the tall Canadian native has a nickname to match his ace-like status:
“Pax was really outstanding and we certainly needed it,” manager Scott Servais said of the Canadian southpaw. “Big Maple is what he was nicknamed tonight and I kind of like that. He was awesome.”
“Big Maple” is a fantastic nickname. That’s the sort of nickname guys used to get back when nicknames were great. Before managers just put “y” at the end of dudes’ names and before the “First Initial-First Three Letters of The Last Name” convention took hold in the wake of A-Rod.
“Big Maple.” That makes me smile. I’m gonna be smiling all dang day because of that.