Tap-In Question: Are you still majorly concerned about the Orioles' starting rotation? - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Connolly's Tap Room

Tap-In Question: Are you still majorly concerned about the Orioles’ starting rotation?

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Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

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Was a little crazy at Connolly’s on Sunday night after the Orioles captured the series in Detroit and the Ravens won their opener of the NFL season.

We’re a baseball Tap Room, but I understand our patrons have varied interests: Baseball AND football.

Ultimately, though, this joint is about the white ball with stitches – and the Orioles.

And this joint is also about getting your opinion on “the old, local nine.” And I have a good one for you today.

I want to know if you are still desperately worried about the Orioles’ starting pitching.

I mean, Chris Tillman is back. At least he looked like he was Sunday in the Orioles’ 3-1 victory at Detroit, allowing four hits and one run in six innings during his first start since Aug 20.

Tillman now has 16 wins and, if he can further avoid shoulder injury and gets a little lucky, he still has an outside shot to become the first Oriole pitcher with 20 wins since Mike Boddicker in 1984.

Ubaldo Jimenez is back. Or at least he is Good Ubaldo again – four straight quality starts against some pretty stiff competition. If nothing else, he seems to have regained some confidence, and is repeating his delivery consistently.

Kevin Gausman is taking the next step, looking more and more like the rising star the club drafted as the fourth pick overall in 2012.

Dylan Bundy is remaining on the mound, an important development. The club’s top pitching prospect heading into this year has been great at times, and he’s learning to pitch deep into a big league season for the first time.

Yovani Gallardo is basically a five-to-six-inning pitcher, but he usually minimizes the damage and keeps his team in the game most nights.

Lefty Wade Miley has been a disappointment since being acquired in July, but he also has a reputation of pitching effectively enough to keep games close.

That’s six guys. A mix of veterans and youngsters. There’s talent there – and in the second half there’s been better results. The starters’ ERA went from 5.56 in June to 5.18 in July to 4.68 in August and, so far in September, has been 3.21.

It’s a small sample size, but progress is progress.

So here’s what I want to know: Are you buying it?

Are you OK with the Orioles’ rotation now that Tillman is back, Ubaldo isn’t a disaster and Gausman and Bundy are getting a chance to pitch every fifth day or so?

Or do you think this group is still inferior compared to other contenders and you’re waiting for the other cleat to drop?

Tap-In-Question: Are you still majorly concerned about the Orioles’ rotation?

28 Comments

28 Comments

  1. Boog Robinson Robinson

    September 12, 2016 at 7:42 am

    Miley & Gallardo are just guys, but with Tillman, Bundy & Gausman, the future looks brighter than it has for quite a few years here in Charm City, that’s for sure. And by future, I’m talking post ’16. Majorly concerned for the long term? No. But that’s long term.

    As far as the short term goes, it’s been a great if not expected turn of events for Mr. September. They’ll need him to continue to be “good” Ubaldo for the rest of the month, and hopefully a few weeks past that. If he does, that makes for a very serviceable four man rotation which I think should be good enough to carry the team IF it is fortunate enough to make the playoffs. That’s the short term view.

    So for the short term, absolutely YES I’m majorly concerned. They are only one injury away from being back to where they were 2 months ago and the window of opportunity for this team is NOW. Who knows what the future holds for this team after this year.

    • Dan Connolly

      September 12, 2016 at 8:48 am

      You’ve said this before Boog, about the time being now. I don’t fully disagree. But this team won’t look much different next year. Trumbo and Wieters could be gone, and also the August pickups, but most everyone else returns for 2017.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        September 12, 2016 at 9:19 am

        But you also have to consider that Jones will be 32 and JJ 36 years old. How much to they have left in the tank?

  2. pedro

    September 12, 2016 at 7:44 am

    The starters are on a roll. The back end of the bullpen is the question mark, until O’Day returns. Once he comes back (if he’s the O’Day we have come to know), we have the makings of a division winner.

    • Dan Connolly

      September 12, 2016 at 8:45 am

      Not having O’Day hurts. And I still think a veteran, consistent lefty specialist is a void. But otherwise I have no real concerns about the back-end of the bullpen. So long as it isn’t pitching every night.

  3. bill-s

    September 12, 2016 at 7:51 am

    At this time of the year, when every game means so much, and teams in the AL East don’t get to fatten their records against the Twins, White Sox, Angels, or A’s, you worry about everything. Swinging at bad pitches. Base running blunders. Home runs being called foul. Injuries. Everything! Yes, the starting pitching is less of a concern than it was, but you still worry every night. However,with six arms, if a starter is shaky, he can be yanked quickly and there is another starter out there on full rest to take over. That helps. No matter. It’s the most fun and the most frustration one could want.

    • Dan Connolly

      September 12, 2016 at 8:48 am

      Nicely said Bill. Drink chip.

  4. 5brooks5

    September 12, 2016 at 8:47 am

    I always worry about this rotation, it’s like my golf game, the proverbial Box of Chocolates, you never know what your going to get. That being said, my biggest concern is the Team getting Bundy hurt at the expense of this pennant chase,he is too important to the future teams to risk over-use now. So I hope Buck uses some common sense and monitors him closely, as I,m sure he will,it’s D.D. that worries me more in that regard. I know this is off target, but I just have to vent… Is it just me or is Manny the worst base-runner ever ??

    • Dan Connolly

      September 12, 2016 at 9:14 am

      I remember Jack Cust. And David Lough. So I say no to your last question. As for Bundy, it’s been my concern since July. But all seems OK so far.

  5. Marshall

    September 12, 2016 at 9:14 am

    I’m less concerned over the rotation and more concerned with the consistency of the offense and the baseball brutality of our remaining games. I’d hate to be on the cusp of the playoffs if we get through Boston (twice) & Toronto and then NY having the chance to be spoilers. I guess getting through all of that would be fantastic, but losing it on the end would feel Maier-ish.

    • Creatively_19

      September 12, 2016 at 10:02 am

      Its not just our inconsistent offense, but that there’s quite a few pitchers on the other teams in our division who just SHUT US DOWN. Boston is going to be a scary three games this week….

    • Dan Connolly

      September 12, 2016 at 10:52 am

      There are 7 of 10 remaining at home against two teams with among the worst records in baseball. So there’s a slight bit of relief there.

  6. Creatively_19

    September 12, 2016 at 9:31 am

    I’m always concerned about our rotation, though I feel a bit better today than I did say about a week ago.

    Tillman looks like the rest has done him well, and Gausman looks like he’s found himself lately. On the other hand Bundy looks like he could USE an extra day of rest and Miley looks plain lost at times. Gallardo looks like a guy who will be locked into the bullpen if the O’s get into the postseason.

    The post-season pitching rotation intrigues me this morning (I know I’m getting a little ahead of myself, but its Monday at work so…) Right now we’re looking at the Wild Card play-in game and wouldn’t you set up your rotation so that Chris Tillman gets the ball on that must-win game? But then you’re looking at him possibly starting only 1 game in the ALDS, so you kinda lose there, or maybe if Ubaldo keeps pitching the way he has you start him in the WC game and keep Tilly, Gaus and Bundy ready for the ALDS… I know Buck already knows what his plan is, but obviously we could still win the division and skip the evil play-in game. Just some Monday Morning Musings….

    • Marshall

      September 12, 2016 at 9:37 am

      I love that the possibility exists that Ubaldo could be the go to guy for the WC game.

      • Creatively_19

        September 12, 2016 at 9:59 am

        Its a scary thought, I know.

        • Dan Connolly

          September 12, 2016 at 10:55 am

          It really is amazing. I can’t say I knew he’d be Good Ubaldo again. But this is exactly why they couldn’t cut him in April/May/June/July. The possibility of a turnaround was there, and eating that amount of money and watching him turn around for someone else would’ve made heads explode.

    • bill-s

      September 12, 2016 at 1:31 pm

      You can’t begin to think about wild card or ALDS rotation now. Those aces very well might be needed in the final regular season series, so who knows who will be the next available arm? Just get there, then see what happens.

  7. Bancells Moustache

    September 12, 2016 at 10:04 am

    Short term yes, long term no.

    The fact that Wade Miley and Yovani Gallardo are cleared to throw baseballs in the direction of players with bats will remain a source of heartburn. It’s tough to get excited about a huge Boston series starting tonight knowing Miley will be tossing them in underhand to Mookie Betts and co.

    Boog is right on the long term though, there is some serious sunshine on the horizon. After all these years of Baltimore pitching being a joke, going into 2017 the Orioles have no less than three number one caliber guys, two of whom could blossom into full blown superstars. Is that hard to envision by 2021 or so, Bundy or Gausman, or even both having a Cy Young on their resume? Hell, Gausman has looked at times like that could even be next year. That’s definitely a glass half full perspective, the orange colored glasses firmly affixed, but it isn’t ridiculous. And they still haven’t cut bait on Hunter Harvey, either. After watching Bundy come back from his myriad of setbacks, it has to give a little confidence to anyone watching the melodrama with Hunter. So yes, although we all remember the “Cavalry” and what a letdown that was, aside from getting the best closer in the game that is, looking into the future I feel confident in saying ‘I like our guys’

    Wade Miley, however, still sucks.

    • Creatively_19

      September 12, 2016 at 10:20 am

      Gausman is 25, Bundy is 23 and Harvey is 21. Also, Bobby Bundy could be in the bullpen for the O’s next year, that would be awesome! And next year Chris Tillman should really be building on this season’s success going into free agency. Its exciting!

    • Dan Connolly

      September 12, 2016 at 10:57 am

      Tillman was part of that “Cavalry” along with, wait for it, Arrieta, Matusz, Bergesen and Britton.

      • Creatively_19

        September 12, 2016 at 11:19 am

        I always wondered what Bergeson’s career would have been if he hadn’t taken that liner off his shin.

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          September 12, 2016 at 12:14 pm

          You too 19. I can remember lineups from 40 years ago, but 2012 is a blur ….

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        September 12, 2016 at 12:12 pm

        Bergesen … jeepers, I had forgotten about him. I bow to your encyclopedic memory Mr. Connolly!

    • Dan Connolly

      September 12, 2016 at 5:51 pm

      He was just never the same. Needed to be aggressive with his arsenal, but lost that edge. Totally understandable. Was a real good guy.

    • Mau

      September 12, 2016 at 9:59 pm

      Just give Miley back to the Red Sox for free.

  8. claudecat

    September 12, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    Not much to add to what’s already been said, but one thing concerns me long term. Our three worst pitchers (at least until Ubaldo got his groove back) are also our three most expensive pitchers, almost impossible to be rid of via trade that nets anything of value. Miley, Gallardo and Ubaldo also share one trait: last scrap at the table at free agent feeding frenzy or trade deadline time. Dan’s dug this hole. It will be interesting to see how he claws his way out.

    But yeah, right now? Trending up is a nice place to be in September. We get O’Day back, Ubaldo stays good, Miley and Gallardo at least hold their own? One might even begin to see us as an above average pitching staff!

    • Dan Connolly

      September 12, 2016 at 5:53 pm

      I wouldn’t go that far Claude. Serviceable is the goal. Solid is the ceiling.

      • claudecat

        September 12, 2016 at 6:14 pm

        Hey, we hold the staff ERA for the month to something under 4? That’s above average! For the time being. Undoubtedly they’ll regress to the mean at some point, hopefully next year.

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