Monday, July 6, 2009

Can Anything Be Done About the Rotation?

What we all believed would be the problem with the Orioles in the beginning of the season has come front and center. The starting rotation has been very bad lately, and there is no solution in sight.

Here is what the Opening Day rotation was, and where they are now:
--Jeremy Guthrie: still a starter, 6-8 record, 5.02 ERA (6.86 on the road)
--Koji Uehara: has not been bad when healthy, but often could not go longer than 6 innings a game and is always hurt
--Alfredo Simon: needed elbow surgery after two bad starts, out for the year
--Mark Hendrickson: relegated to the bullpen after many bad outings, but has become a decent long reliever
--Adam Eaton: released after posting an 8.56 ERA in eight starts, now playing for Colorado Springs Sky Sox, Rockies Triple-A club

And the rotation now:
--Jeremy Guthrie: 6-8 record, 5.02 ERA
--Brad Bergesen: a solid starter this season, 5-2 record with a 3.53 ERA, 4-0 in last eight starts
--Rich Hill: mostly bad outings with a few exceptions, 3-2 record with a 7.43 ERA, only twice going over 5.2 innings
--Jason Berken: may not be ready, 1-5 record with 6.25 ERA
--David Hernandez: only five starts but ok right now, 2-2 record with 4.15 ERA

It is no doubt that the rotation has been real problematic. Without Bergesen and solid work from the bullpen, the whole pitching staff could be lost. Certainly it was thought the rotation would struggle, but the difficulties with Guthrie and Uehara made things much worse.

But can anything really be done about it right now? As we often tell ourselves, the Orioles are not in contention right now. Not matter what deals can be done, the Red Sox, Yankees, and Rays will likely be better. Signing a number of free agents likely will not help matters plus will cost millions of dollars. Trading also won't work, as you will not get anyone good and ready to go without giving up one of the big three, which is not an option, and Andy MacPhail will not do that.

The Orioles can keep tapping into Norfolk all they want, and that is what they will do. Already from the Tides came Bergesen, Berken, Hernandez, Radhames Liz, and Alberto Castillo from the pitching end plus Matt Wieters, Nolan Reimold, Lou Montanez, and Oscar Salazar in the lineup. The Tides pitching staff has been real helpful to the Orioles, and they still have some people left, but eventually the Birds will need to stop bringing people up, if only because they will run out of them. Left that could help now are David Pauley and Chris Waters, but after that, the rotation will need to function on their own.

This whole situation is difficult for the Orioles, but it is one they will need to get through. Mainly because nothing really can be done about it unless the current pitchers can do better. Let's hope they do.

(Photo credit: AP)

1 comment:

Jergs said...

Guthrie just doesn't look like himself. He's struggled but still can put together a strong outing now and then.
Hill should become a Lefty specialist out of the pen or just released. Lack of mental toughness.
Hernandez has very good stuff but may be suited for the pen.
The jury is still out on Berken and I agree may need more seasoning.
What to do in the meantime? Bring up a player or two who looks ready in the second half. They may need to think about signing a decent innings eater next season. Who that is? No idea.