Along with Jimenez, right-hander Brad Brach can provide length in relief, with the O's seeing more value in the pair of righties than left-handers McFarland and Matusz. McFarland is capable of going multiple innings while Matusz is a matchup reliever.
"It was tough," manager Buck Showalter said of the decision to leave off two pitchers who have been with the club since April. "They are going to get introduced and be in the bullpen [Thursday night] ... They understand it and [we] made a point in the advance meeting we had yesterday and the get-together we had, making sure everyone understood why. If we are fortunate enough to advance, they will be very much in the mix for the next round. It's just who we are playing more than anything."
The Tigers' lineup has just one pure left-handed hitter in Alex Avila, so the Orioles -- as well as Detroit -- leaned very right-handed heavy in setting their roster. And that means Jimenez, who was removed from the starting rotation in August due to his struggles, is an asset. The righty, who has made three career relief outings since 2006 -- all this year -- has been much better in his last three outings and Showalter is hoping the inconsistent Jimenez can be a wild card of sorts.
"If you look at his numbers against Detroit, it's a good, 'What if?'" Showalter said of Jimenez, who is 5-9 with a 4.93 career ERA against the Tigers.
"We've obviously got [starters] Bud Norris and Miguel Gonzalez in the 'pen if needed tonight. We're going to try not to, but that'll happen if needed. As you saw in the Kansas City game, you better be prepared for what if. [Jimenez has] presented himself well. I told the players, this is a different dynamic. Darren O'Day could pitch in the third inning, or Tommy Hunter. It is what it is, so you want to be sure you can cover it the whole way."
The O's will carry 14 position players, including Jimmy Paredes, who provides another infield option, and left fielder David Lough, who has had an impressive September. Notable absences are infielder Alexi Casilla and the speedy Quintin Berry, who was a September callup.
"That was a tough one, though, because he's obviously been a contributor with that [speed]," Showalter said of Berry. "Sometimes, that's something that can be negated in the playoffs if they want to, by times to the plate, holding runners. That can be negated. But that was long. The bullpen and last couple extra guys.
"We came close with Casi but just don't think it's fair to him at this point. If he played more and was healthy, we would have considered it more. If he had more games under his belt. But next round it could be, because now they go down and instructional league games go all the way through Tuesday."
McFarland and Matusz, who were both left off the postseason roster, will stay with the team and travel during the postseason. Evan Meek and Ryan Webb are down in Sarasota, Fla., along with Christian Walker, and Berry and Casilla will stay in Baltimore for Games 1 and 2 before heading down there. Joe Saunders went home to Virginia. All of them are still in play for the AL Championship series roster, should the O's advance.
Here is the full roster:
Alejandro De Aza