If his two starts since the All-Star break are an indicator, Mariners rookie left-hander Roenis Elias benefited from having days off in mid-July as much as any pitcher on Seattle's staff.
Elias, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound Cuban defector who made the jump to the big leagues this season after spending 2013 with Double-A Jackson, lost his final three starts leading up to the Midsummer Classic while posting a 10.05 ERA over 14 1/3 innings. But in two starts since, he's 1-0 with a 1.74 ERA in 10 1/3 innings.
He should have a good chance to continue the recent success when the Mariners open a three-game set Friday against the Orioles at Camden Yards.
After all, Elias (8-8, 4.31 ERA) is well rested.
He threw just 85 pitches in his last start before manager Lloyd McClendon chose to lift him after five innings of one-run ball. The Mariners went on to lose, 3-2, to the O's in 10 innings, and Elias settled for the no-decision.
"I definitely wanted to go back out there," Elias said through a translator. "They made the decision to take me out. I had forearm cramps my last start and that was just the decision they made."
Why the cautious approach?
"We have to be careful with this young man and be conscious of his innings," McClendon said. "Be conscious of his pitch count, particularly when they're stressful innings. It was an opportunity to get him out of there and we had some guys that needed some work."
On Friday, the O's will counter Elias with left-hander Wei-Yin Chen. Chen thoroughly dominated the Mariners in his last start, yet only recorded three strikeouts. He didn't allow a runner to reach second base after the first inning and scattered five hits over eight scoreless frames in a 4-0 Baltimore win.
"Probably the best I've seen Chen in a really long time," catcher Caleb Joseph said afterward. "Really did well with the fastball, mixed in a really good slider, threw the curveball and the changeup. And that's the type of performance we need out of him to be a playoff contending team."
Mariners: Jackson, Denorfia bolster outfield
Austin Jackson and Chris Denorfia, the two outfielders the Mariners acquired at Thursday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, are expected to join the team and figure to be in the starting lineup against Chen.
A big motivation in adding the two players was balancing a left-handed heavy lineup. Corey Hart has been the only right-handed option in the outfield, and he's primarily a first baseman and designated hitter.
Jackson, who posted a .270/.330/.397 slash line this season with Detroit, will start in center field and likely lead off, while Denorfia figures to play right field.
"Obviously we're getting more right-handed, which is something we've been hoping for quite a while," McClendon said. "Not only are we getting right-handers, but experienced right-handed hitters that are two-way players that know how to handle situations. This is definitely an upgrade for us."
Orioles: Club adds Miller, loses prospect
Baltimore traded Double-A pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez to Boston on Wednesday in exchange for Red Sox left-handed reliever Andrew Miller.
"This was required. It wasn't our first choice to trade him," said Dan Duquette, Baltimore's executive vice president of baseball operations. "The kid has talent and he has youth. But our team is in the race. We want to continue what we started, and we needed to add to our club to be competitive with the other clubs, not just in our division, but the other clubs in the American League in the playoff situation."
Miller went 3-5 with a 2.34 ERA in 50 games with Boston. He struck out 69, walked 13 and posted a miniscule 0.90 WHIP. According to Duquette, Miller, 29, should solidify the bullpen and help the club win more close contests.
"Given the way our team has been playing in terms of the starting pitching coming around, this fills a void and gives [manager Buck Showalter] a weapon late in the game to lock down the lead," Duquette said.
• Denorfia is batting .242 with one home run and 16 RBIs in 89 games.
• Baltimore took three of four games from the Mariners last week at Safeco Field.
Adam Lewis is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.