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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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Matt Barnes tossed for nearly beaning Manny Machado as Red Sox beat Orioles

Matt Barnes tossed for nearly beaning Manny Machado as Red Sox beat Orioles

BALTIMORE (AP) -- A spikes-high slide. A near beanball. Harsh talk in the clubhouse.

The rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles soared to a new level over the weekend, and there's no telling what might happen when they soon meet again.

A tempestuous three-game series between these AL East foes wound up with Orioles star Manny Machado seeing a fastball sail behind his head and Matt Barnes getting ejected for throwing it Sunday in Boston's 6-2 victory.

The high, very inside pitch came two days after Machado spiked Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia with an aggressive slide.

Pedroia watched from the dugout for a second straight day with knee and ankle injuries. Machado apologized with a text message on Friday night, but that evidently wasn't the end of it.

"That's on them," Machado said. "Whatever happened today, I'm going to keep (being) me."

When Machado batted in the sixth inning, Eduardo Rodriguez threw three pitches down and in near the knees. Machado came up again in the eighth and Barnes' fastball whizzed behind Machado and hit his bat. The ball hit Machado and rolled foul, and plate umpire Andy Fletcher tossed Barnes.

"I would never intentionally throw at someone's head. That's kind of a line you don't cross," Barnes said.

Boston manager John Farrell -- who on Saturday called the league office to discuss about what he called "an illegal slide" by Machado -- insisted Barnes' wayward pitch was nothing more than an accident.

"He was trying to take a four-seamer in and above his hands and the pitch got away from him," Farrell said.

But Orioles first baseman Chris Davis thought the fastball was intentionally directed at Machado's head.

"I think it was completely obvious," Davis said. "I haven't seen a guy miss that bad in a while -- behind a guy's head."

Orioles manager Buck Showalter appeared reluctant to criticize the Red Sox, but said, "The courage it takes not to retaliate a lot of times in life is a lot more challenging than doing what ended up happening today."

During Farrell's argument with Fletcher, Pedroia was standing on the top step in the dugout and whistled to catch Machado's attention. He mouthed the words "It's not me," evidently trying to show he was not seeking revenge. Machado acknowledged Pedroia and later pointed to his head.

"I had nothing to do with that. That's not how you do that, man," Pedroia said afterward. "I'm sorry to him and his team. If you're going to protect guys, you do it right away."

After the game resumed, Machado hit Joe Kelly's first pitch for an RBI double to make it 6-1.

Machado ended up making the last out, hitting a popup on a pitch from Craig Kimbrel, who got his seventh save.

The Red Sox and Orioles play again May 1 at Fenway Park. Asked whether the teams will put this behind them by then, Davis said, "Honestly, if you ask anybody in here, we're already past it. We didn't agree with what happened, we didn't appreciate it but we can't let those things dwell."

Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez homered on successive pitches in a four-run first inning, and Andrew Benintendi had a career-high five hits to help Boston avert a three-game sweep.

Mitch Moreland also homered for the Red Sox, who came in with a major-league low eight home runs. All the long balls were off Kevin Gausman (1-2), who found himself in a 4-0 hole after throwing only seven pitches.

Rodriguez (1-1) allowed one hit over six innings, walking five and striking out seven. Obtained in the 2014 trade that sent Andrew Miller to the Orioles, Rodriguez is 3-1 with a 1.37 ERA in six career starts at Camden Yards.

Not only did the Red Sox play a second straight game without Pedroia, but third baseman Pablo Sandoval left with a sprained right knee.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: Farrell says because there's still some swelling in Pedroia's knee and ankle areas, he will "go through some imaging" Monday in Boston. "At this point, it warrants a further look," Farrell said. ... LHP David Price (elbow) participated in a long-toss session Sunday and will pitch a few simulated innings at Fenway Park on Monday.

Orioles: Closer Zach Britton (forearm strain) will start throwing Monday after having his hand examined.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: After an off day Monday, Boston opens a season-high, 10-game homestand Tuesday night in a matchup with the Yankees.

Orioles: Ubaldo Jimenez (1-1, 5.51 ERA) goes up the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night in the opener of a three-game series. The Rays are 1-6 on the road.

MORE ORIOLES: Orioles prospects 4/22: Chris Tillman’s rehab continues

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Homers by Mancini and Schoop carry Orioles past Red Sox 4-2

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Homers by Mancini and Schoop carry Orioles past Red Sox 4-2

BALTIMORE -- Trey Mancini and Jonathan Schoop homered in succession off knuckleballer Steven Wright, Jayson Aquino won his first big league start and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Boston Red Sox 4-2 Saturday night for their fourth straight victory.

Baltimore will seek to complete a three-game sweep on Sunday. The Orioles have not lost a series this year and own the best record in the majors (12-4).

Aquino (1-0) allowed two runs and six hits over six innings to earn his first career victory. The 24-year-old lefty previously pitched three times in relief, all last year with Baltimore.

Mychal Givens followed with two perfect innings, Donnie Hart got two outs in the ninth and Darren O'Day finished for his first save.

Jackie Bradley Jr. homered for the Red Sox, who were without injured second baseman Dustin Pedroia.

Wright (1-2) gave up four runs and nine hits in 3 2/3 innings. Just 10 days earlier, the right-hander got only four outs and yielded eight runs against Baltimore at Fenway Park.

Bradley put the Red Sox up 2-0 in the third with his first home run, a shot onto Eutaw Street beyond the right-field scoreboard. Boston came in with only seven home runs, fewest in the big leagues.

Limited to three singles over the first three innings, Baltimore hit two singles, two doubles and two homers in a four-run fourth.

Chris Davis doubled and Mancini and Schoop homered before Adam Jones chased Wright with an RBI single.

It was Mancini's team-high fifth long ball of the year. He has eight homers in 17 big league games over two seasons.

More Orioles: WAS MANNY MACHADO'S SLIDE INTO DUSTIN PEDROIA DIRTY?​