Zach Britton of the Orioles had one of the best starts of his young career on Thursday against the White Sox. In eight innings, Britton allowed one run on seven hits, and struck out ten batters without walking one. For Britton, who has only made eight starts in the majors this season while battling injuries and ineffectiveness, the start was a step in the right direction.
Of course, after the game, the Orioles demoted Britton to AAA Norfolk to make room for veteran Randy Wolf, who the team will be officially signing on Friday.
On the surface, this looks like a slap in the face for Britton…until you look at the logistics of the move. With no playoffs in sight, Norfolk's season will be ending on Monday, September 3rd. The major league rosters expand to 40 players on September 1st. Because of his start today, Britton won't be pitching at all for the Tides during his demotion. He's still penciled in to start for the Orioles on Tuesday the 4th against Toronto. Demoting him was just a move to get Wolf on the active roster before the September 1st deadline to be eligible for the playoff roster.
But honestly, I don't think Wolf is going to make much of an impact on the Orioles. He looked done with the Brewers earlier this season, and moving to the AL East likely won't help him at all. The Orioles are still on the fence on whether or not to use Wolf as a starter or a reliever, but with the playoffs in sight, he shouldn't be counted on as a huge part of this team over the final month of the year.