Get in here and slam the door behind you. It’s cold out there, but toasty in the Tap Room. We have coffee coming out of the taps today as well as brew. It just looks like another porter, so don’t be embarrassed.
After the initial games of this season, the most positive development – besides the nightly heroics of Joey Rickard – is that the Orioles’ rotation has held its own.
The group was much criticized coming into 2016, with questions surrounding the consistency of veterans Chris Tillman, Yovani Gallardo and Ubaldo Jimenez, the health of Kevin Gausman and the upside of Mike Wright, Vance Worley and Tyler Wilson.
Well, heading into Saturday’s frozen tundra experiment at Camden Yards, the Orioles starting rotation had acquitted itself well.
Tillman dominated in his brief, rain-shortened stint on Monday and was solid Friday; Gallardo was solid enough for a win Wednesday; and Jimenez was very impressive Thursday.
There are going to be some hiccups with this group; none of these guys has eye-popping stuff. But if they can be consistently solid and pass leads off to a stout bullpen, the Orioles chances of playing into the postseason improve dramatically.
So here’s what I was wondering: Which Orioles starter is going to have the best year in 2016? For me, it’s Tillman, Jimenez or Gausman. I don’t think Tillman’s shaky 2015 is indicative of the quality pitcher he is; I’ve always said I think Jimenez will have one All Star year during his four-year contract, which expires after 2017; and I expect Gausman to blossom with starts every fifth game.
But if I have to pick one to be the Orioles best pitcher – or de facto ace – this year, I am sticking with Tillman. I just think he is more like the guy he was in 2014 than the banged-up version we saw in 2015.
What do you think?
Tap-In question: Who will be the Orioles’ most effective starter in 2016? Why?