The Orioles' starters haven't completed six innings in the last three games, which is taxing the bullpen, which is giving manager Buck Showalter additional challenges that he'd rather avoid.
Jason Hammel was done after five-plus innings tonight, failing to record an out in the sixth in the Orioles' 8-5 loss to the Yankees.
"I would have rather not have pitched certain guys, but the game calls for it," Showalter said. "What bodes well for us in the future is we were able to give some guys some rest. We felt good that we made them get everybody up in their bullpen except (David) Robertson. Of course, they've got (CC) Sabathia going tomorrow. I'm sure there's a design there. But I think what gets you more than anything are the early exits - two and three and four innings.
"I think that would really be me reaching for an excuse. If we could get some shutdown innings there, we'd be in better shape."
Hammel was making his first start since May 5 because of swelling in his right knee.
Did the knee bother Hammel tonight?
"I thought a little bit toward the end, if that, but he said he felt good," Showalter said. "I think the bigger case is how he feels tomorrow. We'll see what type of residual or if there's any swelling or soreness there. I'm anxious to see how he feels tomorrow."
First baseman Chris Davis' error in the sixth with the bases loaded and no outs let two runs score and allowed the Yankees to tie the game.
"It was kind of in between hops, and once you kind of back up a little bit on it, especially with the ground being wet and it's two different surfaces, the ball's going to dive down, not come up much," Showalter said. "He's probably thinking in his head at the same time whether he's going to the plate or he had a chance to turn two. But it was a play that we hope to make in the future to stay in those games and be more competitive."
Issuing three walks in the sixth inning wasn't a good idea, either.
"You're facing good teams, the best players in the world every night," Showalter said. "Obviously, they're a good offensive club and clubs really get you when you put some people out there and they don't earn it, because they earn their share, So, the walks were an issue."
Dana Eveland walked two more batters, giving him eight in two appearances.
"Obviously, we shortened up his start a lot, but he did pitch on three days' rest and he's had two days' off since starting, so I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt on that," Showalter said.
"I will say this... No, I won't say that. Let's just wait and see. I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt right now. But it's something, with the way he needs to pitch to be successful, his command has to be there."
Xavier Avery was a bright spot, collecting his first major league hit, RBI and runs scored. He doubled and tripled.
"X had a good night," Showalter said. "I was real proud of him. That was a big night for him. He put a lot of good at-bats together. He was patient. I assume there's a lot of emotion going on there, but he doesn't wear it on his sleeve. I like that. I like the pace at which he plays the game. He presents a real calm image. Put some good at-bats together. Nothing they really featured that he can't deal with, so I was impressed with him."