Rotation turns in right direction again

Because the hour-long drive home from Washington D.C. seemed too short for me late last night, I decided to miss my exit for the Baltimore-Washington Parkway and stay on Suitland Parkway for a good 15-20 minutes before turning around and heading back toward Nationals Park.

If there’s a more directionally challenged person on this planet than me, I’d like to meet you. Of course, I’d never be able to find you.

I had to turn on my GPS when I woke up just to locate the bathroom.

And yes, I left my GPS at home, or I wouldn’t have been driving on Suitland Parkway.

But enough about me...

Remember when the Orioles’ rotation had stumbled so badly that it only produced two quality starts out of nine games and we wondered how long it would take before the bullpen was completely destroyed from overuse?

Well, manager Buck Showalter still reaches for the dugout phone as if there’s a prize for making the most calls on it, but only because the Orioles refuse to play nine-inning games. It’s not the starters’ fault anymore.

arrieta-throwing-new-hat.jpgThe rotation has strung together four consecutive quality starts, including last night’s gem from Jake Arrieta. To review:

Wei-Yin Chen: Two runs in seven innings against the Yankees
Tommy Hunter: Two runs in seven innings against the Royals
Brian Matusz: Three runs in six innings against the Royals
Arrieta: One run in seven innings against the Nationals

By my math, which is almost as faulty as my sense of direction, the Orioles’ starters have allowed eight runs in their last 27 innings.

Tonight’s starter, Jason Hammel, was charged with four earned runs (five total) in five innings against New York, but he also was returning from a long layoff due to soreness and swelling in his right knee. He also pitched in a steady rain. And he probably was worried about me getting lost on my way to Camden Yards.

Hammel is 3-0 with a 3.55 ERA in five career games against the Nationals with the last four resulting in quality starts. In three starts at Nationals Park, he’s 2-0 with a 2.66 ERA and three quality starts.

Just saying...

I’ve been asked about potential interest from the Orioles in right-hander Roy Oswalt, who’s throwing for teams this week. I haven’t heard anything about the Orioles being in on Oswalt. They didn’t pursue him over the winter, and he reportedly made it clear again that he only wants to pitch for a team with a realistic chance of going to the World Series.

Yes, the Orioles are in first place in the American League East, two games ahead of Tampa Bay. Yes, they’ve won four in a row, are 18-7 in their last 25 games, are 14-5 on the road - the best record in the majors - and have won eight straight away from home for the first time since 1999. It’s all good. But that doesn’t mean he views them as a World Series-caliber team.

If I hear otherwise, I’ll be sure to let you know. I’m just thinking that it’s more realistic to project left-hander Zach Britton’s return to the rotation than Oswalt’s addition to it.

Then again, I could be leading you in the wrong direction. It happens.

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