Back to the Expected
The Tides returned home after a surprising 5-3 road trip to Indianapolis and Louisville. Before that trip the Tides had been 5-13, so a 5-3 road trip provided hope, especially since this eight-game homestand featured the two teams — Indianapolis and Syracuse — with records comparable to Norfolk’s. Unfortunately, the hopes were dashed after three innings of Thursday’s game against Indy.
The Tides were scheduled to start veteran Ryan Drese, but shortly before game time changed to Chris Jakubauskas. Jakubauskas was on the opening-day roster, but was promoted to the Orioles before he made an appearance. After a couple of appearances, he was placed on the disabled list with a strained groin. Sunday, he made a rehabilitation start for the Tides and lasted less than two innings. Despite that, the Orioles optioned him to Norfolk on Monday and he made the start on Thursday.
It was clear that Jakubauskas was not in condition to be a regular starting pitcher, as the Tides declared that he would be on a 50-pitch limit. That limit proved to be about 40 pitches too many. The first Indianapolis batter fouled out, and then the second blooped a single to center. That second batter was then caught stealing second base. That was ten pitches. After that, Jakubauskas gave up a double and a two-run home run (granted, the home run was wind-aided) before escaping the first, then walked two batters before giving up a three-run home run in the second. After he gave up a single to the leadoff batter in the third, he reached his pitch limit and was replaced by Drese, who was unable to strand that runner although the run was charged to Jakubauskas. Down 6-0, the Tides were unable to do much against crafty lefthander Brian Burres. When the shouting was over, the Tides lost 9-1.
On the face of it, it made no sense to send Jakubauskas down when he was not ready. The Orioles returned Chorye Spoone to Bowie when Jakubauskas was sent down. Maybe the Orioles really wanted Spoone at Bowie; but that still doesn’t excuse them from sending Norfolk a pitcher who isn’t ready to pitch. Especially since there are other pitchers — Troy Patton and Armado Gabino — who could step into the rotation while Jakubauskas works into shape.