When we hear the Baltimore Orioles mentioned in trade rumors, it’s usually about their pursuit of a starting pitcher. Names like A.J. Burnett of the Phillies, Jorge De La Rosa of the Rockies and Ian Kennedy of the Padres tend to pop up the most.
All three pitchers are solid, but are they really an upgrade over what manager Buck Showalter has to work with on the current roster? I say no.
On Thursday night, LHP Wei-Yin Chen was superb as he threw eight shutout innings at the Seattle Mariners in a 4-0 Baltimore victory. Over the last four games, Orioles starters have allowed only four runs in 28.1 IP. That equates to an ERA of 1.27.
Quality stuff folks.
If you think that’s impressive, over the last 40 games, the starters ERA is a strong 3.12. While the rotation may not remind people of the 1971 Orioles, we have to recognize the fact that they have really stepped up their performance.
Miguel Gonzalez, Bud Norris and Chris Tillman have all been throwing extremely well. With Thursday’s sharp outing, Chen now has 11 wins. Kevin Gausman has the best stuff on the staff and has shown flashes of brilliance.
The wild card for the Birds may be RHP Ubaldo Jimenez. Jimenez, who is on the DL with an ankle injury, has been brutal in his first season in Baltimore. He is, however, known as a second half pitcher. If he can come close to duplicating what he did for the Indians in the final months of the 2013 campaign, that would almost be the equivalent of the Orioles actually going out and acquiring an ace.
The Orioles are in first place in the AL East and are hell bent on getting back to the postseason.
Once they get there, do they have the starting pitching to match the A’s, Tigers or Mariners?
Based on what they have shown over the last month or so, the answer would have to be yes.
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