Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Rotation Issues Already Forming in Baltimore

It has been a great start for the Birds, winning their first three series, considering the bullpen and rotation issues. However, the Orioles were hoping the "stopgap rotation" would hold a little longer than this, but the injury to Alfredo Simon has already forced the O's to dip into the Tides for some help. While Simon has not yet gone to the DL, recent moves make it seem that he'll be out a little while.

According to the Baltimore Sun and MASN, the Orioles have bringing up Matt Albers and Radhames Liz after Melvin Mora was sent to the DL and Simon will have his shoulder checked. It would not be surprising if Brad Bergeson was brought up as well from the Tides. Bergeson has done a great job in his first two contests in Norfolk, striking out nine and just allowing three earned in 11 innings, but these are his only two starts in triple-A play, and there is no telling if he'll be ready to come up to Baltimore.

We all expected the Orioles rotation to be an issue this season. Jeremy Guthrie and Koji Uehara were seen as the only reliable starters, so the rest of the rotation was up for grabs, which was won by Simon and Mark Hendrickson with Adam Eaton filling the last spot when needed. The Orioles, though feeling it would eventually happen, were hoping to avoid using Norfolk players to fill gaps already. The bullpen has been very scary to the O's, but they have at least been able to hold large leads. The starters have done a good job for now, especially Guthrie.

The overall key to all of this is to protect the potential stars of the rotation. Under no circumstances can the Orioles bring up Chris Tillman because they need to wait until he is ready, and since he is not on the 40-man roster this probably will not be an issue. Players like Bergeson, Liz, Chris Waters, and David Hernandez could be called up sometime this season as stopgaps. This is just the beginning of the season and the Orioles can't risk their big players just because of a nice start. First they need to ready their big pitchers and Matt Wieters. They'll compete as best they can, but don't get too excited about the start. The might of this rotation is about to be tested. But for now and for all the issues, the O's have won their first three series.

(Photo credit: AP)

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