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Orioles starting rotation ranked near the bottom of MLB

Orioles starting rotation ranked near the bottom of MLB

BY TYLER BYRUM

Coming into the 2017 season, the Baltimore Orioles are looking to build off a Wild Card appearance last year that ended in disappointment. 

In the off-season the team needed to address numerous issues along their roster, especially the team’s starting pitching.  Without any major moves during the winter, the Orioles will start the season with the 24th best starting rotation in the majors according to USA Today.

Last year the team’s rotation was not that great and a majority of them are returning to the squad this season. Behind Kevin Gausman (3.61 ERA) and Chris Tillman (3.77), the remaining six regular starters averaged a 5.35 ERA. Only one of those pitchers had a sub 5.00 ERA and that was right-hander Dylan Bundy (4.02).

He started the season primarily as a reliever but towards the end of the year he was consistently in the five-man rotation. In the games he started, the right-handed pitcher finished with a 8-5 record. None of the other starters, excluding Chris Tillman, finished the season with a winning record. 

Based on essentially no pitching moves by the organization, it appears that the 24-year-old Bundy will be called on to be the third man in the rotation.

READ ALSO: Orioles projected to have a down season

The next rotation spot is lining up for Wade Miley, a starting pitcher the Orioles acquired last season from the Seattle Mariners. Starting in 11 games for Baltimore he only registered two wins.

Leaving only one rotation slot open, returner’s Ubaldo Jimenez, Tyler Wilson, and Mike Wright will be fighting for the spot. Jimenez, who gave up the homerun that ended the 2016 campaign against the Toronto Blue Jays, initially looks to be one of the pitchers to fill in.

While the free agent class was not stellar this off-season, it included two World Series champions Jason Hammel and Edinson Volquez. Other notable free agents were Ivan Nova, R.A. Dickey, and Rich Hill.

Of all the minor transactions the team made in the past three months only one pitcher, Tomo Ohka, has notable experience as a starting pitcher. He turns 41 in March.

RELATED: Manny Machado ranks high among third basemen

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Orioles nearing MLB record as pitching continues to give up runs

Orioles nearing MLB record as pitching continues to give up runs

BALTIMORE -- The Cleveland Indians and Baltimore Orioles can smash the ball. Both teams play sound defense, and each has a veteran manager in the dugout.

So, when it comes down to explaining why the Indians lead the AL Central and the Orioles are sinking toward the bottom of the AL East, only one word is necessary: pitching.

Carlos Carrasco struck out 10 , Francisco Lindor homered and the Indians defeated the skidding Orioles 5-1 Wednesday night for their seventh win in eight games.

Carrasco (8-3) allowed seven hits and walked none over six-plus innings to win his third straight start. The right-hander struck out every Baltimore starter except Trey Mancini to reach double figures for the 11th time in his career.

Cleveland held a 3-0 lead when Carrasco yielded three straight singles to open the seventh. Andrew Miller entered and got a force at the plate before striking out Caleb Joseph and Ruben Tejada.

"That's the ballgame," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "That's pretty impressive. For them to get nothing? That certainly carried the heavy lifting."

Miller said his goal was simply to "just limit the damage."

If only it was that easy for Baltimore. Not only did the Orioles lose for the 10th time in 14 games, but they have allowed at least five runs in 18 consecutive games -- two short of the major league record set by the 1924 Philadelphia Phillies.

Once the Indians took control with a three-run fifth, Baltimore was all but finished.

"There wasn't much margin for error with Carrasco. He's having another good year," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "I think that's what a lot of people miss about them is, as good of an offensive club and a defensive club as they are, their pitching was good last year and will be again this year."

Dan Otero gave up an RBI double to Jonathan Schoop in the ninth, ending Cleveland's bid for its major league-leading ninth shutout. After Baltimore put runners on the corners with two outs, Bryan Shaw retired Tejada for his second save .

Kevin Gausman (3-7) gave up three runs and six hits in 5 2/3 innings with nine strikeouts for the Orioles.

Gausman was cruising until the fifth, when the Indians peeled off four straight hits to go up 3-0. After Roberto Perez doubled in a run, Lindor followed with a two-run homer.

"It's kind of the way things have gone, really, throughout the whole season so far for me," Gausman said. "Pitching well and it kind of gets away from me."

Cleveland added two runs in the ninth against Miguel Castro.

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Manny Machado hits 2 bombs in Orioles 6-5 win over Indians

Manny Machado hits 2 bombs in Orioles 6-5 win over Indians

Another poor outing by their starting pitcher left the Baltimore Orioles facing an early three-run deficit and the prospect of another lopsided loss.

Then Manny Machado took over.

Machado went 4 for 4, homered twice and drove in four runs to help the Orioles beat Cleveland 6-5 on Tuesday night and end the Indians' six-game winning streak.

After absorbing a 12-0 defeat one night earlier, Baltimore fell behind 5-2 before rallying to win for only the fourth time in 13 games.

"Coming back from the game we had (Monday) night -- they really took it to us -- it was good to come out ahead against a real good team," manager Buck Showalter said.

Machado hit a solo homer in the first inning and tied it with a three-run drive in the fifth. Then, in the seventh, Machado doubled off Bryan Shaw (1-2) and scored on a double by Adam Jones.

Machado's first four-hit game since last August lifted his batting average 13 points to .227.

"Just happy I was able to do something for us today," Machado said. "We played great baseball. That's what we've got to keep doing, picking each other up."

Miguel Castro (1-0) worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh to earn his first big league victory.

Brad Brach pitched the ninth for his 13th save, retiring Yan Gomes on a deep fly ball with runners on the corners and two outs.

Orioles starter Chris Tillman allowed five runs and eight hits in four-plus innings, but Baltimore's comeback enabled him to avoid losing a sixth straight start.

Asked to sum up his outing, Tillman uttered three words: "Not very good."

The Orioles allowed at least five runs in a 17th consecutive game. That's the longest run in AL history and just three short of the dubious major league record of 20 set by the 1924 Philadelphia Phillies.

Juan Encarnacion homered for the Indians, whose season-high winning streak thrust the team into first place in the AL Central.

"Nobody wants to lose, but I don't think this loss will affect tomorrow," manager Terry Francona said.

Cleveland starter Josh Tomlin yielded a season-high three homers in 4 2/3 innings. The one pitch he lamented most was the cutter he threw to Machado with two on in the fifth.

"I didn't execute a pitch and it changed the game," he said.

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