Orioles Stuck With Current Rotation Despite Recent Outings

The Baltimore Orioles are in the midst of a dreadful five-game losing streak. There is not a single facet of the game they can hang their head on. The offense has scored just 16 runs since Thursday night’s loss to the Washington Nationals and sports a .217 batting average during that stretch.

That is the least of their concerns these days. Dan Duquette, Buck Showalter and the Orioles’ pitching coaches have to figure out what is the problem with the starting rotation. Fast.

Last night’s 10-7 loss to the Chicago White Sox was the third consecutive outing in which the starter failed to make it to the fourth inning. Wade Miley gave up six runs in 2 1/3 innings before being lifted for Ubaldo Jimenez. This comes after a 2 2/3 inning effort in his last outing against the Pittsburgh Pirates. In his last two starts, Miley’s ERA has jumped from a 2.82 to 3.97, which still a respectable number.

The problem is he failed to eat up innings once again and the O’s bullpen is taking a beating. Over the last three games, the Orioles starters – Chris Tillman, Kevin Gausman and Miley – have allowed 22 runs on 21 hits and 11 walks in just seven innings. For those who like to look at numbers, that is an ERA of 28.28 and 4.57 WHIP.

More concerning for the Orioles is that there is no help on the horizon. Tillman was supposed to be the one who made everything fall back into order, but he has been the worst-performing starter this season with a 8.01 ERA in his seven starts. Whatever shoulder ailment he’s been dealing with since last September is clearly still an issue as he has not been the same pitcher since.

Most baseball experts expected Gausman to make a quantum leap this season, but the Orioles’ Opening Day starter is struggling to get batters out. Far too often, Gausman sees his pitch count rise because he cannot put hitters away. His splitter has always been his strikeout pitch, but he’s been leaving it in the zone far too often, and batters are fouling them off rather than sitting back in the dugout.

The one consistent starter has been Dylan Bundy, but he comes with his own questions. He threw for a career-high 110 innings last season and has already pitched in 83 innings this season. He is well on pace to pass those numbers and no one knows how his arm will fare come August and September Showalter and Duquette would like to get Bundy some time off so he does not burn out come mid-August, but the Orioles do not have anyone else they can turn to with everyone else struggling.

That is because the glaring hole at the fifth starter spot will be a revolving door, barring the O’s making a move as the season progresses. Alec Asher took Jimenez’s spot in the rotation, and we are sure to see those two make more starts, as well as a likely spot starts from those current down on the farm like Tyler Wilson, Logan Verrett, Gabriel Ynoa and Chris Lee. Unless someone starts running away with that slot in the rotation, it could be a guessing game every five days who takes the bump.

The starters cannot get much worse, the bullpen is ravished with injuries and the bats have been held in check as of late. With all that said, the Orioles are still a .500 team as of today. If the starters can get back to posting numbers closer to the middle of the pack rather than near last in almost every pitching category like much of April and early May, a rebound is in store. If it’s more of the same in June, there will be rumblings about potentially blowing this team as we get closer to the trade deadline.

Jun 10, 2017; Bronx, NY, USA; Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Chris Tillman (30) leaves the mound after being taken out of the game in the second inning after giving up nine runs against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Serpico

Joe learned his journalistic ways in the halls of Annenberg and McGonigle en route to becoming Temple Made. He was a Temple News contributor, and the lead reporter for the 2011 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship. A die-hard Philadelphia sports fan, Joe has suffered through many years of letdowns by his hometown teams.

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