Tap-In Question: Who's your fifth starter? - BaltimoreBaseball.com

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Tap-In Question: Who’s your fifth starter?

Welcome back to the Tap Room.

The Orioles are headed onto the road again – so I figured you might need a drink or nine. Heading into today’s opener of a four-game series at Fenway Park, the Orioles have lost 16 of 19 away from Camden Yards in 2018.

This is no surprise: That’s the worst road record in baseball – by far.

This is a long trip, too. Four at Boston, four at the Chicago White Sox and three more at the Tampa Bay Rays before heading back to Camden Yards for Memorial Day, May 28.

Besides wins, one of the hopes for this road trip is that the Orioles discover a fifth starter – now that Chris Tillman is on the disabled list with a lower back strain and an inflated ERA.

There are really two choices, as I detailed Wednesday.

Miguel Castro, 23, who has done a nice job in the bullpen for the Orioles in the past year-plus, but he has also looked good in extended relief outings – a hint he could handle starting.

And David Hess, 24, who acquitted himself well in a quality start Saturday against Tampa Bay in his big league debut and is currently back with Triple-A Norfolk.

There are other candidates, I suppose. Top prospect Hunter Harvey is on the 40-man roster, but he’s also learning his way — and staying healthy — at Double-A Bowie.


And Mike Wright is in the Orioles’ bullpen and has been the perennial spot start guy over the years. Hey, he has to be mentioned.

I think I’d lean toward Castro, but I’m good with Hess, too.

We’ll know soon because someone has to pitch Sunday at Boston.

This is your time to play manager. Who do you tab for that start – and going forward?

Tap-In Question: Who is your fifth starter?



  1. Boog Robinson Robinson

    May 17, 2018 at 7:33 am

    Although I’m torn between he & Hess, I’d have to say what the heck, and go with Castro for now.. Up to this point, he’s acquitted himself reasonably well in the long relief role he’s been assigned, and fairness dictates that he has earned a shot at proving himself.

    Dan, the mere fact that you feel compelled to mention Mike Wright demonstrates just really how far this franchise has sunk. No fault of yours, you’re simply doing your job. But still, it chaps my buns to no end! Why are you forced to still pen his name? What the hell is that clown still doing wearing an Oriole, or for that matter, ANY major league uniform? He just plain stinks. STINKS! And I don’t want to hear that “he’s got closer stuff” crap anymore either. Can you imagine if he had run that act of his through either New York or Boston, rather than Charm City, what would have become of him by now? He probably would have been relegated to bagging groceries at a Piggly Wiggly 3 years ago, and more likely than not, would have stunk at that too! I’m ashamed of my favorite organization for carrying the guy. Mr. Duquette … can we please, please, please pretend that we’re still big league team and rid ourselves of this mook? Please?

    Bartender … if you’d be so kind, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere…

    • Dan Connolly

      May 17, 2018 at 9:05 am

      Probably too early for a drink chip. But I run this joint. Drink chip for an early morning impassioned post.

    • 54orioles

      May 18, 2018 at 12:35 pm

      Blog is right on the button. Wright has had more chances then any other club would give me. Give someone else a shot.

  2. TheFatMan

    May 17, 2018 at 7:42 am

    I would have to go with Hess. Have to see what role, if any, he can fill in the future. I was there Saturday and was really impressed how he overcame those first inning jitters and got through the next 5 innings without an additional run allowed.

    Castro has shown that he can be dominate in that bridge role that can be so important in allowing your team to get back into a game or keep it close if a starter falters. I think he is basically a two pitch guy and that rarely is enough to be a successful starter.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 17, 2018 at 9:06 am

      The way he bounced back in the first inning of his debut certainly showed me something.

    • 54orioles

      May 18, 2018 at 12:36 pm

      Remember Wright’s debut?

  3. Eldersburg Enigma

    May 17, 2018 at 8:18 am

    Brad Bergerson and Jason Berken aren’t options? This is not some new dilemma.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 17, 2018 at 9:08 am

      Bergy is a pitching coach now — and probably a good one. Berken would be an excellent coach too. That guy was a three-sport Prep Star in Wisconsin. Though he looked like an Everyman.

  4. Ben1

    May 17, 2018 at 8:27 am

    Hess. Wright is too inconsistant, Castro maybe, Harvey too soon, and Hess has earned the opportunity.

    • Rusty Trumbo

      May 17, 2018 at 8:41 am

      ‘Inconsistent’ means he good sometimes and bad others

      Mike Wright is always awful, he’s given up ERs in nearly every appearance this year with an ERA pushing 9.

      Exactly who do they think is going to claim him?!

    • Dan Connolly

      May 17, 2018 at 9:09 am

      He certainly hasn’t helped his cause. But some team might think he is a serviceable bullpen arm. I dunno now. Been another rough stretch.

  5. Rusty Trumbo

    May 17, 2018 at 8:38 am

    Hess or Castro, I can see the argument for keeping Castro in the long relief role that he’s already successful in.

    I can’t see the argument for Mike Wright being on the ML roster, certainly not a starter
    * I could have told anyone this in January

    Eventually the spot goes to Harvey.

    Tillman is done.

  6. Birdman

    May 17, 2018 at 8:40 am

    Hess. Orioles have already played themselves out of the wild card race, so they now have the luxury of some experimentation. Let’s keep Hess in the rotation for at least several weeks and see what happens. If Hess doesn’t work out as a starter, there will still be plenty of time left in the season to give Castro a shot.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 17, 2018 at 9:10 am

      Sound reasoning. Drink chip.

  7. Orial

    May 17, 2018 at 8:44 am

    Buck put your foot down,swallow your pride,and INSTANTLY declare(something he’ll constantly hem n haw about)that Hess is your 5th starter. What worries me is that Buck’s “good ole boy loyalty” will return and Tillman will be right back out there for his weekly shellings. Yes you may have noticed that I,a long time big Buck supporter,am souring on his managerial approach. HESS!

    • Dan Connolly

      May 17, 2018 at 9:11 am

      I have no idea what happens with Tillman. But if he pitches well on rehab in the minors, yeah, I think he’s get his spot back. But that’s a ways away I think.

  8. bickel57

    May 17, 2018 at 8:46 am

    David Hess. Castro is to good at what he does of middle to long relief. Who is going to do that job. You can’t rely on Wright Jr. he hasn’t demonstrated in can pitch at all. Until you get get rid of him and insert someone else into that role Castro should stay. If you want to put Hess in that position have no problem with Castro starting.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 17, 2018 at 9:24 am

      That’s actually a solid thought too. Put Castro in and see what Hess can do as a middle reliever while biding his time. That’s old school. Drink chip.

  9. maglorio2000

    May 17, 2018 at 8:47 am

    Let’s face it, competing for a wild card is over. The time is now to find out some things for next year. Hess made a good start… give him 4 or 5 more in a row. If the results are good leave him in that spot. If they are mixed, do the same thing with Castro (4 or 5 starts). Then, bring up Harvey after the All Star break. And, although not related to the question, trade Manny before we get desperate and end up with a draft pick.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 17, 2018 at 9:25 am

      Decent plan on pitchers. As for Manny, deal him. But not until July when teams are jockeying for a playoff run.

  10. 5brooks5

    May 17, 2018 at 8:53 am

    Give it to David Hess and see what he can do. Castro has had success in the bullpen and at this time, why weaken an area that hasn’t been too good so far this year.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 17, 2018 at 9:25 am

      Fair. Unless you think Castro has higher upside. He’s younger, which is surprising.

  11. OrangeBird21

    May 17, 2018 at 9:05 am

    Hess should start Sunday.. Castro is too valuable as the 6th man when the next starter implodes.
    As far as Tillman, he is toast, and should be traded to the Cubs.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 17, 2018 at 10:55 am

      If he is toast no one is gonna deal for him. Not even a team that turned Arrieta into a CY winner.

  12. TxBirdFan

    May 17, 2018 at 9:14 am

    I agree with the majority. Err…and Boog. Give Hess another start since he earned it and keep Castro warm in case he flounders. Send Wright packing today and not a moment later – and find another affliction center for Tilly when his back (sic) starts to heal.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 17, 2018 at 10:56 am

      Drink chip for the community awareness.

  13. Creatively09

    May 17, 2018 at 9:21 am

    I hate to “fix” something that ain’t broke. That would apply to Miguel Castro. He’s certainly earned the opportunity, but he’s also a valuable piece in the pen. I’d vote for Hess to start over him, if I get a vote that is…

  14. Grand Strand Bird Fan

    May 17, 2018 at 10:19 am

    David Hess earned and deserves another start. As noted he toughed out the 1st inning 3 run home run and pitched well getting a win. He has been groomed in the minors as starter and has been successful.

    Castro with his big arm can come in and get strikeouts at key times – pitching multiple innings. If they want to convert him to a starter. They should give him 2-3 starts in the minors to see how he does. Otherwise leave him in his present role.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 17, 2018 at 10:57 am

      He does have a minor league option remaining. So that scenario is available if they wanted to take it.

  15. Bman123

    May 17, 2018 at 10:37 am

    I would keep Hess in the rotation for foreseeable future to see how he plays out. Keep Castro in long relief. DFA Wright. See if we can keep and call up Edgin. Prime and showcase the roster for a June-July sell off. Os may play great over next month or two but doubtful they can claw back into contention. Time for the major rebuild and youth movement. Try to grab as many prospects in trades as possible. Fans will be excited for a future younger dynamic team. Would love to sign Manny long term but prob not going to happen, so if not, have to trade him for the future of the club. Try to trade away as much overhead on club salary as possible, build around future core players. Bundy, Gausman, Schoop, Mancini, Sisco, etc.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 17, 2018 at 10:58 am

      Solid reasoned plan. Drink chip

  16. boss61

    May 17, 2018 at 10:42 am

    Jim Hardin? Marcelino Lopez? Ross Grimsley? Oh wait, you mean not from the baseball card nostalgia era?

    The Hess Express from the available choices. Castro is excellent in his current role; why mess? I was a big Wright fan for a long time, having seen his debut game in person. I can’t support his AAAA stuff anymore than i still wear by Bergesen and Berken t-shirts. Bergy is a pitching coach you say? I had such hope for him too once, as one of the calvary. Alas.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 17, 2018 at 10:59 am

      Ross is still around Camden Yards as a 105.7 commentator. I betcha he’d grab the ball one last time. That guy competed.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        May 17, 2018 at 11:29 am

        Does Grimsley still sport the wild locks?

    • Dan Connolly

      May 17, 2018 at 1:32 pm

      He still has plenty of hair. But no fro.

  17. deqalt

    May 17, 2018 at 3:03 pm

    Josh Hader?

    There really isn’t an option. Where’s that Gavin Floyd rumor when we need it?

    • Dan Connolly

      May 17, 2018 at 6:31 pm

      Haha. Squelched for the 7th consecutive year.

  18. Zoey Dog Says Throw Strikes

    May 17, 2018 at 3:21 pm

    I’d go with Hess, for two reasons. First, taking Castro out of the ‘pen weakens an under-performing unit. Second, starting Castro raises the likelihood we will see Wright more, and frankly that’s not a good thing.

    Hess will likely pitch at least as well as Castro, and you have Castro there in case he stumbles. If Castro stumbles, they’re going to call Tommy Hunter Jr out of the ‘pen to suck up innings.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 17, 2018 at 6:32 pm

      Wait. You calling Wright, Tommy? Cuz Hunter has had a pretty solid MLB career.

  19. Bancells Moustache

    May 17, 2018 at 3:31 pm

    It’s liberating not being in contention. The solution is already laid out, and with contingencies. Hess gets a shot, if he falters then Castro. If Castro can’t get it done either, you can give Tilly another go or take a peek at one of the young bucks, Harvey et al.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 17, 2018 at 6:33 pm

      Glad you feel free and uninhibited. You are usually so buttoned-down.

    • Raymo

      May 17, 2018 at 9:44 pm

      OYG (oh your god)… I’m cracking up laughing at that last comment. Good one Dan!

    • Dan Connolly

      May 18, 2018 at 2:27 pm

      I like to have fun with the Stache

  20. OsFanStuckInNY

    May 17, 2018 at 11:32 pm

    Hess. Earned it and prepared for it.
    He gets the next three — unless he gets shellacked, no control, etc. etc. (I.e. a Tillman/Matusz/Jimenez/Wiley.)

    Castro will get his chance, probably sooner than later, though I don’t see him bumping the first 4.

    Mike Wright can be dropped any time, if I’m in charge. Anderson may think he’s a great athlete, but his pitching sure doesn’t show it.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 18, 2018 at 2:27 pm

      Succinct post. Solid reasoning. Drink chip.

  21. 54orioles

    May 18, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    Think it really matters? We need clutch hitters. I like to see management pay for high average hitters who can field and steal a base or two. Screw the homers.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 18, 2018 at 2:27 pm

      Sure. That would be welcomed.

  22. Bmore_Os

    May 18, 2018 at 2:05 pm

    I think Castro should take the 4 spot from Cobb… Who has not played well at all… and let Hess take the 5 spot

    • Dan Connolly

      May 18, 2018 at 2:26 pm

      Cobb has pitched fairly well in his last three starts. Oh and he’s six starts into a $57 million deal.

  23. John in Cincy

    May 19, 2018 at 6:07 pm

    It’s a good tap-in question, Dan, and I’d say it’s a coin flip between Hess & Castro. Here’s my breakdown of each, and choice:

    David Hess
    Pros — Having a good year in Norfolk; a win in his first major league start against the Rays; poise; decent control; four-pitch repertoire; despite first-inning homer yield to Tampa Bay, not known to be particularly homer prone; and is an unknown to the Red Sox hitters.
    Cons — Only second major league start; pitching at Fenway is like being thrown into the deep end of the pool, when just learning to swim.

    Miguel Castro
    Pros — 92 big league appearances; a power arm who can dominate.
    Cons — Only one major league start; can be erratic in the strike zone; arguably better as a long man; Boston hitters are familiar with what he brings.

    Neither pitcher is ideal, but with a slight nod here towards Castro., because his stuff plays larger against a stacked lineup. If he can have decent command, he’s not that easy to face. Hess, on the other hand, was bad in the first inning against a fair to middling Rays’ offense before settling down, yielding three runs. Against a lethal Red Sox lineup a first inning lapse could look much closer to Dylan’s horrible outing a couple of starts ago than what happened against Tampa Bay, and the Orioles could be buried beyond return after just one frame.

    Of course, Castro could get torched, and Hess be dazzling; there’s always that intangible aspect to the game that makes predictions so dicey.

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