Orioles faltering with bad pitchingBy Matt Verderame
The Baltimore Orioles are 67-55. They are currently sitting in third place of the American League East, but still in the second slot of the AL Wild Card game.
Baltimore should be feeling good when looking from the outside, but there is a growing feeling that this team is doomed. That feeling would be correct, because outside of Chris Tillman, the starting pitching is a total disaster.
Major League Baseball is a funny sport. Despite playing almost everyday for six months, teams can hide deficiencies in the roster either through luck or scheme. Bad pitching can be masked by a string of inept opponents or a couple of line drives hit at the right infielder at the right time. It can be covered up by the well-timed double play or a hanging curveball that gets fouled straight back instead of being crushed 450 feet.
However, over the course of 162 games, the weaknesses always get exposed. For the Orioles, the clock is beginning to loudly strike midnight on their rancid arm troubles.
Outside of Tillman, who has been utterly brilliant, the rotation is a sanitation worker’s retirement fund. In the last two days, the Houston Astros have scored 27 runs against Baltimore, lighting up the O’s in their own beautiful ballpark. For the season, Kevin Gausman has been the second-best starter on the team and he has a mediocre 4.11 ERA. Gausman has just 12 quality starts in 22 attempts and owns a 4-10 record on a team 12 games over the .500 mark.
Beyond him, the Orioles are trotting out Wade Miley after acquiring him at the trade deadline. Miley has made four starts in Baltimore and has a grizzly 9.53 ERA with a cartoonish WHIP of 1.94. At this point, Baltimore could call up a kid from single-A and probably have better results. Yovani Gallardo is starting on Sunday, and that is a feat in itself. Gallardo has made 16 starts this season, and somehow has amassed exactly four quality starts. His ERA is predictably massive at 5.18.
The Orioles are only a game ahead of the Seattle Mariners for the final wild card spot in the American League. With the recent play of the Mariners, it could be tough for Charm City to hold on, especially if Tillman hits a rough patch as his outing on Saturday might indicate.
Baltimore should have shored up the starting pitching beyond the woeful trade for Miley. Instead, the front office decided that the arms in house were enough. It was the wrong call.
The Orioles have to figure it out for another month and a half, and then take it a day at a time.