Whether for one start or the remainder of the season, Tyler Wilson jumps into Baltimore's rotation to try and help the Orioles make an unlikely playoff push.
Wilson is the beneficiary of another starter's struggles and the Orioles hope he can improve their slim wild-card chances Friday night against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.
Fellow rookie Mike Wright's starting role appears to be in jeopardy after going 0-2 with a 9.75 ERA in three starts since returning from a calf injury. The worst of those games was his latest, allowing six runs in three innings of Wednesday's 10-1 defeat to Boston - one of Baltimore's two losses in the last nine games.
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With the Orioles (72-74) suddenly 4 1/2 games back of Houston for the AL's second wild card with 16 games left, manager Buck Showalter would not say if Wright will remain in the rotation or head to the bullpen.
"He's still in the mix both ways," Showalter told MLB's official website. "We are going to serve the needs of the club each day and what gives us the best chance to win that day."
Now Wilson (2-1, 2.19 ERA) gets a chance, as his start pushes the rest of Baltimore's rotation back a day. The right-hander was called up at the end of Triple-A Norfolk's season on Tuesday and learned Thursday that he would get his third start with the Orioles. He has a 1-1 record and 2.63 ERA in two previous spot starts - the last coming Aug. 3 - and made four relief appearances before the All-Star break.
Wei-Yin Chen and Kevin Gausman will start Baltimore's final two games against the Rays, then Ubaldo Jimenez and Chris Tillman are set to start next week's series against Washington. Showalter said Miguel Gonzalez's progress from a shoulder injury could change what the Orioles do from that point on.
Whoever is on the mound, Baltimore needs to make an impressive run to skip past four teams for the league's second wild card.
"It's not about all the other games anymore," Adam Jones said after hitting the go-ahead, two-run single in Thursday's 4-3 win over the Rays. "If we lose, we're not going to get there. If we win, that's all we can do."
Tampa Bay (70-76) dropped 6 1/2 back of a wild-card spot with its fifth loss in six games.
Drew Smyly (2-2, 3.14) hasn't lost in his last five starts, going 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA. This will be his seventh outing since missing more than three months with a torn labrum. His latest effort was wasted in a 2-0, 13-inning loss to Boston on Sunday, having tied a career high with 11 strikeouts in six innings.
"Drew Smyly, really good," manager Kevin Cash said. "He drove his pitch count up simply because of all the strikeouts, but he looked very sharp. He got a lot of swing and misses on a lot of different pitches."
During his four years with Detroit and Tampa Bay, Smyly is 3-0 with a 0.79 ERA in seven appearances against the Orioles, including four starts. He held the Orioles to four hits in seven scoreless innings of an 11-2 win Sept. 1.
Jones and Chris Davis have combined to go 4 for 29 with 14 strikeouts against Smyly, though Davis homered in his only hits off him and Jones went deep once.