How Baltimore Orioles September call-ups impact playoff push

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 27: Pedro Alvarez
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 27: Pedro Alvarez /

The Baltimore Orioles September call-ups include Chance Sisco, Pedro Alvarez, Joey Rickard and Jimmy Yacabonis among others as the Orioles enter the final month of the 2017 MLB season.

Buck Showalter and his Baltimore Orioles baseball team typically don’t use the bench often in games, but with September call-ups, that may change for the next month.

Up until 2017, often the players who started for the Baltimore Orioles would be the ones who finished the game unless it was a blowout or players were substituted to get a matchup advantage.

With September call-ups, the Baltimore Orioles are in a position to make more moves from their bench.

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Yacabonis is another bullpen piece, and it is likely the team will also call up Donnie Hart and Mike Wright once they have been in the minor leagues for 10 days.

J.J. Hardy will be another player called up once he is completely rehabbed from his injury.

The pitching pieces will allow Showalter to have an even shorter leash with his struggling starters, which is at least half of his six-man rotation.

If Ubaldo Jimenez is struggling early, bring up a pitcher in the bullpen. When Jeremy Hellickson gets to the fifth inning and starts putting men on base with a lack of control, rush someone into action.

This will help make sure other guys, such as Miguel Castro, Darren O’Day and Mychal Givens are well-rested. O’Day and Givens have struggled mightily at times, O’Day earlier in the season, Givens now.

It will also mean that the Orioles can use pitchers in mop-up situations that aren’t their top relievers.

All good things! Let’s move to the position players.

Alvarez is left-handed, and is a career .246 hitter versus right-handers, as opposed to .205 versus lefties. He has 135 home runs in his career against right-handers, and just 18 versus lefties.

While Alvarez’s glove work means he is likely going to be coming off the bench, he also could see time at designated hitter. However, Mark Trumbo, who is right-handed, hits .248 vs. righties as opposed to .254 vs. lefties, but he also has 135 home runs against right-handed pitchers and 63 against left-handed pitchers.

Both players’ power comes against right handed hitters, which will make it interesting to see how much Alvarez plays over Trumbo, as both are hitting about the same in 2017, although Alvarez’s numbers are in Triple-A Norfolk.

As for Hardy, his move is a little more complicated. First, Tim Beckham has been excellent as the Orioles everyday shortstop, and Buck Showalter has continually deflected who would start, even though it should be Beckham.

Hardy has less range than Beckham but is certainly a more consistent defender. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Hardy enter many games in the ninth inning, especially if Zach Britton is on the mound, to help field and make plays on ground balls.

Sisco will primarily be an emergency catcher, getting his feet wet and being around the major leagues. But, don’t be surprised to see him enter some games too. The Orioles will have more flexibility now at catcher and can use Welington Castillo or Caleb Joseph at DH if needed.

Castillo’s ability to cut down stolen bases at a league leading mark means he will likely see most of the time behind the plate moving forward.

Rickard’s situation is a bit more complicated. Before the Orioles optioned to Triple-A Norfolk, he was platooning with Seth Smith. Now that Craig Gentry is in that role, will it change with Rickard back? It shouldn’t, but that doesn’t mean it may not.

Besides, Rickard will be used as a defensive replacement and as a pinch runner. For games where Gentry is in the game, it allows Buck Showalter to pinch-hit with Seth Smith or Pedro Alvarez and not have to worry about losing defense, as Rickard can then enter.

These moves will give Showalter flexibility he currently doesn’t have. If an AL East foe wants to make one of their ten million mound trips and bring in a lefty to face Chris Davis, Buck may go to his bench, bring in Alvarez, and then can move Mancini to first base and has arguably a better defensive outfielder in the game then.

The ability to make these types of maneuvers will be interesting. Often, Showalter is criticized for fans for not taking out players who are struggling.

Now, he has the opportunity to be very liberal with the use of his bench and make a lot of changes.

I’m not saying take out Manny Machado, Jonathan Schoop or Adam Jones unless it is a blowout. Those three are all the top defenders by far at their position and also needed for their offense.

But, if Davis has a game where he looks lost, go ahead and take him out in that pivotal at-bat in the eighth inning.

If Castillo is on second base in a 2-2 game in the seventh inning, you can go to the bench easier for a pinch runner, knowing you have two catchers on the bench.

These moves make the Orioles a better team, which is a good thing.

Next: 6 unsung Orioles players playing vital roles in 2017

No one is coming to rescue the rotation, however. The Orioles are going to sink or swim with what they have.

That is what will determine if the Baltimore Orioles are a playoff team or just average in 2017.