Last April, I decided to do something that I’ve always wanted to pursue, but never actually had the courage to do. After listening to a few podcasts from the guys over at Section 336 (brothers Josh, and Matt Sroka, Bert Rode, and the Intern), I realized that everybody has opinions, but a lot of people don’t speak them.
I’ve always been a fan of the Baltimore Orioles, and I’ve always had my own opinions regarding the team. When I started blogging about my thoughts, and opinions, I never thought I’d actually garner an audience.
Almost a full year later, I’ve accumulated 100 total posts, obtained a (hopefully) sizable audience, and hope to have garnered respect from many different Orioles fans alike. I had a lifelong friend, Brandon Kerrigan, give me ideas on how to obtain viewers. I’ve been given support from people such as Kyle Andrews (of BMore Wired), and Nate Wardle (of The Baltimore Wire). I’ve also gained a lot of advice from guys like Dillon Atkinson (of Orioles Uncensored), and Chuck Boemmel (of Baby Birdland). Their subtle, positive reinforcing comments, and beneficial advice has allowed me to improve on my work on a daily basis.
Of course, the support of an absolutely amazing woman in my life has made me believe that I can do anything I set my mind to do. Jennifer Loveless has instilled the confidence in me to believe in myself, and to never let anything get me down.
These are part of the reasons why I continue to do these blogs.
So, with all of that said, let’s move on to post number 100, shall we?
The trade of Yovani Gallardo all but solidifies the starting rotation for 2017.
The starting five come April, should be Chris Tillman, Kevin Gausman, Ubaldo Jimenez, Wade Miley, and Dylan Bundy. Who knows, it may even wind up being in that order.
Tillman could make his fourth Opening Day start in a row, and Dylan Bundy should finally be able to land in the Opening Day starting rotation. Gausman should throw more than 175 innings again, and it’s probable he picks up his first win before the end of June. Wade Miley is out to show that he can pitch better than his 6.17 ERA (as an Oriole) leads to believe. I’m sure he’ll be working to get back to 2012 form.
And what about Ubaldo Jimenez? Well, Wednesday morning, I said that he’s going to finish his contract out with the Orioles, and I stand by that statement. Ubaldo pitched well down the stretch last season after being given the chance to start again. In seven starts from August 25th on, he allowed just 13 earned runs, in 47.2 innings, totaling a 2.45 ERA.
Last year, Orioles starting pitchers finished with a 4.72 ERA, in 886 innings pitched. Would you believe it if I told you that was third worst in the American League? You should, because it’s true. (Seriously, I looked it up) Oh, and their innings pitched, yep, 12th fewest of American League starting pitching corps. Of course, you have to remember that Tyler Wilson had 13 starts, Mike Wright had 12, and Vance Worley had 4. None of which finished with lower than a 4.50 ERA, and only Worley (as a starter) finished with a non-losing record.
Is this group of guys going to show an overall improvement over last season?
Isn’t this the same group of guys that put up those numbers though?
Working under a new pitching coach, with a solid reputation, and a lengthy resume, we should see an improved staff. After all, their overall ERA has increased each season, starting in 2014 when they finished with a 3.61 ERA, followed by a jump to 4.53 in 2015, and as mentioned just above, another increase to 4.72 last season. So, again, it can only get better, right?
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that the Orioles were carried to the playoffs by a home run savvy offense, and a bullpen that finished with an ERA of 3.40, the best in the American League. It almost became as if it were expected for starters to flounder upon reaching the fifth inning, and for guys such as Brad Brach, Mychel Givens, and Donnie Hart to get a game to the ninth for Zach Britton to shut the door.
So, is 2017 going to be the year the starting pitching group rebounds, and helps lead the team to their fourth playoff appearance in six years?
If you vote yes, you’re in favor of Chris Tillman winning 15+ games, Kevin Gausman, and Dylan Bundy having breakout years, and Ubaldo Jimenez having his greatest season as an Oriole, and Wade Miley pitching par, yet docile.
If you vote no, you believe a regression is coming in a contract year for Tillman, Gausman won’t live up to the hype that has come with him for the past few seasons, Bundy won’t make it through the summer a member of the starting rotation, due to performance, or injury (lord, please no), and Jimenez, and Miley will pitch so horribly that they find themselves pitching strictly from the mound in Norfolk.
In all honesty, to me, I feel as if this will be a rebound year for the starters, and they’re going to have an improved season, however, you still aren’t going to see a Cy Young award winner in Baltimore. But, I guess with the numbers listed, anything better than just under a four-and-a-quarter ERA should be classified as an improvement.