Rob Long: The Sixth Man?
On Tuesday, Buck Showalter said he’s open to going to a six-man rotation when left-hander Johan Santana becomes available. Some would take that as the Baltimore Orioles having so many quality starters that they can’t decide who sits. However, with earned run averages ranging from 4.04 – 4.63, no one’s been exactly stellar. True, it’s tough to say they’ve been horrible, but those numbers are replaceable.
Here’s the problem: Chris Tillman and Ubaldo Jimenez were expected to be the staff’s front of the rotation starters and they have the highest earned run averages. You’re not replacing either of them unless one goes on the disabled list. Bud Norris has been solid while Miguel Gonzalez has been consistent, not giving up more than two runs in each of his last four starts. He’s also gone at least six innings in those starts. The Birds skipped his start on May 14th for the season debut of Kevin Gausman only to have Gonzalez come into the game in relief.
If you recall a Rich Dubroff article on CSNBaltimore back in early March, Buck said, “I’m hoping we get five starters who pitch so well we don’t need it”. Now, in June, Buck’s considering going to a six man rotation. If Buck is saying the five starters haven’t pitched well enough and consistent enough as a group, I’m sure we’ll all agree to that. The question is, how will a six man rotation effect the rest of the starters?
The last time Wei-Yin Chen had more than four days rest was May 22nd when he went 6 2/3 innings giving up five runs on eight hits. Then, he had four days rest after that start but went five innings once again giving up five runs. Bud Norris’ numbers looked decent early in the season when he was given extra rest, but lately, it hasn’t been great for him. He gave up four runs in six innings against Cleveland after five days rest, which wasn’t one of his best starts of the season.
The truth is, sometimes pitchers get extra days off just based on scheduled days off for the team. That leads to the question of starters now getting six days off in those situations instead of five. Either way, Buck Showalter’s smarter than me when it comes to baseball and I’m sure he’ll figure it out. Johan Santana is eventually coming off of the disabled list and the team will have some decisions to make. Hopefully, the pitchers who are currently in the rotation will make it very difficult for the O’s.
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