Closer look at Orioles rotation and lineup numbers

Kyle Bradish is named the starter for tonight’s game against the Rockies, the line moving again while the Orioles wait on Jack Flaherty.

No one who is new to the rotation is anticipated at this point. The same crew, one of the distinct differences from the past.

The Orioles have used only eight starting pitchers this season, the third-lowest total in the majors. And that includes Keegan Akin, who worked one inning as an opener on May 31 against the Guardians. He’s on the 60-day injured list.

The other starters are more memorable: Bradish, Flaherty, Kyle Gibson, Tyler Wells, Dean Kremer, Grayson Rodriguez and Cole Irvin.

The Blue Jays and Nationals were tied for fewest with seven heading into the weekend. The Twins, Brewers, White Sox, Cubs and Angels were ahead of the Orioles with nine.

The Royals and Athletics had used the most starters with 20.

John Means’ rehab assignment shifted to Triple-A Norfolk last night, where he allowed one run and threw 72 pitches in 4 1/3 innings. The expanded September roster will include him, but the decision is pending whether he’s in the rotation or bullpen.

Jordan Lyles led the Orioles in starts with 32 during the 2022 season. Manager Brandon Hyde used 14 starters, with Akin again forced into the role for Game 2 of a Sept. 5 doubleheader because Lyles was ill.

Bradish, Wells and Kremer also started last season, along with Means, Spenser Watkins, Austin Voth, Bruce Zimmermann, Mike Baumann, Chris Ellis, Bryan Baker and DL Hall.

There’s one missing. Name him without looking it up. Answer below.

The Orioles had 15 starters in 2021 while finishing 52-110. In the previous full season, Hyde’s first as manager, 18 different Orioles made starts.

Dylan Bundy led the club with 30. Richard Bleier, Sean Gilmartin, Luis Ortiz and Yefry Ramírez each made one. Times were hard.

Left-hander Ty Blach, who starts Sunday for the Rockies, was used five times in the rotation. Nate Karns lasted only two after signing as a free agent.

Is this another sign that the Orioles have turned the corner?

“The answer’s definitely ‘yes,’” Hyde said yesterday. “Our rotation, we’ve been much more consistent and our guys have improved. Adding in a veteran like Gibson with Kremer and Bradish and Tyler Wells and these types of guys that have made huge improvements, it’s been a huge part of our success.

“I also want to give a lot of credit to our pitching guys and our strength and conditioning and training guys for doing a great job of keeping these guys as healthy as possible. It’s so hard to keep pitching healthy. That’s why I’m always nervous about innings and the long season and things like that, because you’re really trying to keep these guys healthy as much as possible. And we’ve done a really good job of that so far this year.”

The Orioles played their 128th game last night and used their 119th different lineup.

The most common order has appeared five times, with Gunnar Henderson leading off and followed by Adley Rutschman, Anthony Santander, Ryan O’Hearn, Austin Hays, Aaron Hicks, Adam Frazier, Ramón Urías and Jorge Mateo. That one is on hold because Hicks went on the injured list with a lower-back strain.

We might not see it again with Rutschman batting leadoff in 24 games, including last night.

Hyde wrote out 142 different lineups in 2022 and none more than three times.

“I don’t think that’s rare anymore,” Hyde said. “The way that rosters are put together now is that the platoon advantage is important. So, on most nights you can kind of know who I’m playing by looking at the starter, unless I’m giving somebody a day off. Most lefties that have pitched against us, a lot of these guys have been in the group that’s played, and then righties vice-versa. And I think a lot of teams have bought into that platoon advantage part that they maybe didn’t in the past.

“I think that we’re really versatile and we have those platoon types. (Ryan) McKenna is better against left-handers, (Jorge) Mateo’s been better against left-handed pitching, (Adam) Frazier’s better against right-handed pitching so far. (Ramón) Urías is kind of a reverse. There are a lot of guys I want to play, and to keep everybody fresh and as healthy as possible, it works out this way.”

Answer: Denyi Reyes made three appearances last summer and started Game 2 of a May 28 doubleheader in Boston, allowing one run in 3 2/3 innings.


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