Orioles ‘poking around’ on Jason Vargas

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Like a kid checking out a dead frog with a sharp stick, I presume.

ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark reported Thursday that the Orioles are now shying away from Matt Garza and are “poking around on” Seattle’s Jason Vargas as they attempt to upgrade their starting pitching.

Hopefully, this is nothing more than due diligence. Vargas has been a pretty solid starting pitching for Seattle, but he wouldn’t work in Camden Yards or the AL East. Vargas has a 5.09 ERA outside of Safeco this year and has allowed a whopping 17 homers in 69 innings on the road. Overall, he’s allowed 23 homers, which leads the majors by three. Just his road total alone would rank tied for fifth in all of baseball.

Also, look at his career record against American League East teams:

Boston: 1-2, 3.51 ERA
New York: 0-3, 6.55 ERA
Tampa Bay: 1-3, 3.82 ERA
Toronto: 0-3, 6.49 ERA

Overall, he’s 2-11 with a 5.01 ERA against AL East teams other than Baltimore. Just counting the road outings, he’s  1-6 with a 7.08 ERA.

Vargas may not be entirely a Safeco creation — he did have a decent enough 3.79 ERA in 13 road starts last year — but it’s doubtful he’d be more than a fringe fifth starter for an AL East team. Put him in Camden Yards and Orioles fans may start longing for Jake Arrieta again soon enough.

Brewers’ Burnes goes on IL with strained left oblique

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
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ST. LOUIS — Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Corbin Burnes was placed on the injured list Friday with a strained left oblique, likely ending the right-hander’s breakthrough season.

Brewers manager Craig Counsell said that if Milwaukee advances to the playoffs, Burnes would be unavailable for the first round and would be doubtful for the second round. The Brewers (27-29) are outside of playoff position but haven’t been eliminated from contention yet heading into the final weekend of the regular season.

“Take the next couple of days off and then start slowly working back into it, and we’ll see how quickly we can get things ramped up depending on how I’m recovering,” Burnes said.

Burnes is 4-1 with a 2.11 ERA and 88 strikeouts in 59 2/3 innings, a dramatic improvement from a 2019 campaign in which he went 1-5 with an 8.82 ERA.

He suffered his first loss of the season Thursday by allowing three runs and six hits over 3 2/3 innings as the Brewers fell 4-2 to the St. Louis Cardinals. The injury, which was described Thursday night as lower back discomfort, appeared to bother Burnes throughout the fourth inning.

Burnes was placed on the injured list after undergoing an MRI.

“It didn’t end the way you necessarily wanted it to,” Counsell said. “He had a great season. We’ve talked about it many times – he should be happy with what he accomplished. One, you’ve got to heal up and see what happens. But regardless of what happens, he should be really pleased with what he’s been able to accomplish in the regular season.”

Burnes said the issue started bothering him during his previous start and cropped up periodically throughout the week, but that he felt fine before Thursday’s game.

“Everyone asked me beforehand, `Are you good to go?”‘ Burnes said. “(I replied), `I’m good to go.’ It was one of those things where there was just a little bit of tightness, but I thought it would be just fine. Everyone’s asking me after, `Do you still think you should have gone last night?’ Absolutely. It’s one of those things, I think I can go out there and get outs. For the most part, I was able to, up until the very end there. It’s one of those things. Absolutely no regrets about going out there last night.”