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Rob Long: Surprising Rotation In Orioles Pitching & Hitting

During spring training all of the talk surround the Baltimore Orioles indicated that this team would put up a ton of runs but have problems protecting early leads because of shaky starting pitching. Many believed if the starters could just get a lead to the bullpen, the team would be in good shape, but getting them there would be an accomplishment.

Well, lately the O's haven't had problems with pitching. In the past 10 games, dating back to Kevin Gausman's season debut in Tampa, the Birds' starters have managed to give the club seven quality starts. Now, you can go ahead and criticize the definition of a quality start (at least six innings while allowing no more than three earned runs) but it is what it is. That's baseball in 2016 and many if not most doubted whether or not the rotation could give the team that type of support.

Chris Tillman has looked stud-like during that time with a combined 13 2/3 innings while only allowing one earned run. In fact, since the nightmarish first inning against the Toronto Blue Jays where he allowed two runs, Tillman has been nearly impossible to figure out. Maybe Tillman isn't one of baseball's "number one starters," he's certainly looking like the Orioles number one starter.

Kevin Gausman has been giving Tilly a run for his money at the top of the rotation. The 25 year old started the 2016 season on the disabled list but has given the team a jolt since his return. In three starts, including his eight inning gem on Thursday, Gausman has given up only three earned runs in 19 innings to the tune of a 0.68 WHIP. Opponents are batting .152 against him in what my colleague Dave Johnson from MASN would say is a "small sample size."

During that same 10-game span the potent offense of the Orioles has managed only 33 runs, including the 10 run explosion in the first game of this game stand against the Chicago White Sox. They also put seven on the board in a loss last Saturday against the Sox so over half of their total came in two games. That's not what anyone expected from this line-up.

You have to speculate that the hitters will heat up as the weather does and produce more than they have. Some would also suggest if you're not seeing the "real" line-up of the O's that the success of the rotation isn't "real" either.

I believe Tillman and Gausman are giving you close to what they're capable of giving you. Also, Yovani Gallardo in on the disabled list and is more than capable of pounding out innings upon his return. The only question marks are what Ubaldo Jimenez shows and who are Mike Wright and Tyler Wilson?

That's why we LOVE baseball though. Oakland comes to town and Ubaldo will have a chance to redeem himself from his last performance when he couldn't get through five innings.. His performance was one of only two outings where the starters could not do so.

Game time is 7:05 p.m. and you can hear it on 105.7 The Fan.

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