The stability in the Baltimore Orioles' starting rotation that developed in June and July has given way to uncertainty in August, which only intensified after Ricky Bones' subpar starting debut Tuesday night in a 12-2 loss to the Oakland A's.
Bones, who was moved from the bullpen to the rotation after the Orioles traded Juan Guzman on Saturday, lasted just 2 2/3 innings, giving up four earned runs. Although the Orioles initially said Bones would make another start on Sunday in Baltimore, today Manager Ray Miller indicated that decision is under review.
"We'll wait and see where we're at when we get home," Miller said. "It was our decision to start him because he has started before."
Bones, lobbying for another start, said: "It's hard to judge anything after one start. I would like to get a couple more shots."
If the Orioles decide to make a change, Miller mentioned left-hander Doug Johns as a possibility. But Miller repeated his intention to keep Scott Kamieniecki in the bullpen, where he has excelled after two disastrous starts in May.
"Kammy has been throwing well," Miller said. "I think holding him to 25-30 pitches is keeping him healthy. And he's happy where he's at."
One potential concern with Bones is his inability to retire left-handed hitters. After five of the seven lefties that Bones faced Tuesday night got hits -- including Matt Stairs's three-run homer in the third -- lefties are hitting .390 off Bones this season.
Meanwhile, Miller said he thought starters Sidney Ponson and Scott Erickson appeared tired in their last starts. Miller has discussed having Ponson miss a turn or two in the last two months of the season to keep him fresh. This morning, the team sent Ponson to Baltimore ahead of the team, to give him a full day's rest before his Thursday start against the Tigers.
Before Tuesday night's drubbing, Orioles starters were 21-16 with a 3.80 earned run average in their previous 52 games. Erickson had won six straight decisions before absorbing a 7-1 loss on Sunday. Before today, Orioles starters had won only once in the team's previous nine games.
Including Ricky Bones's loss Tuesday night in Oakland, Orioles starters have combined to go 1-6 with a 10.90 earned run average in their first starts of the season.
Pitcher Date IP H ER W/L
Mussina 4/5 5 8 4 W
Guzman 4/7 3 1/3 8 6 L
Erickson 4/8 7 9 5 L
Ponson 4/9 2 2/3 4 5 L
Linton 4/11 5 5 2 ND
Coppinger 4/25 1 1/3 1 5 ND
Kamieniecki 5/8 1 2/3 3 6 L
J. Johnson 5/20 6 6 5 L
Bones 8/3 2 2/3 7 4 L