LHP Zach Britton seems to be moving closer to regaining his job as the Orioles’ closer. Britton entered in the eighth inning Sunday and pitched another scoreless inning for the Orioles in an 8-0 loss to the Cubs. He did allow a hit and a walk. Since coming off the disabled list on July 4 following a left forearm strain, Britton has allowed two earned runs on six hits in five innings of relief. He’s struck out two and walked two. “I feel good, you know, physically,” he said. “Obviously, it’s a weird schedule, but where we are right now, just trying to get innings in games. You know, would like it to be in a situation where we’re winning games, but that’s kind of where we’re at. It’s not ideal for me, but I feel good. So, that’s a plus.”
SS Jonathan Schoop played a clean defensive game Sunday in his second career start at shortstop. Manager Buck Showalter made the move to get second baseman Johnny Giavotella in the game without taking Schoop, the team’s lone All-Star this season, out of the lineup. “I think (Schoop) is capable,” Showalter said. “He handled it the last time well. I know he looks forward to it. It’s probably the least disruptive of places where people have played.” Schoop was 1-for-4 at the plate Sunday in an 8-0 loss to the Chicago Cubs.
RHP Ubaldo Jimenez continues to struggle with inconsistency. He was tagged for six earned runs on a season-high 11 hits over 3 2/3 innings Sunday in an 8-0 home loss the Chicago Cubs. Jimenez (4-5, 7.01 ERA) hasn’t made it out of the fourth inning in six of his 14 starts this season. He hasn’t gotten past the fifth inning in 10 of those starts. “I think everyone wants to do their job,” Jimenez said. “I don’t think you’re gonna get more pressure. Every five days you want to go out there and be there for your team. We all know how things have gone right now. But I don’t think we put more pressure (on ourselves) than we already have.”
SS J.J. Hardy received good news when team doctors told him that the fractured bone in his ribcage had healed. “That’s good. It looks like we’ve got that part behind us,” manager Buck Showalter said. Hardy is still weeks away from a return due to a right wrist fracture he suffered on June 18. He is batting .211 with three homers and 21 RBIs over 64 games.