When it comes to some starting rotation stats, they are not overall favorable for the Orioles. But they must hope that some recent potentially positive developments can begin to change some of that.
You may have heard, starting pitching is pretty important and the pundits had it as a question mark for Baltimore to start the year.
Through Sunday’s games, the Orioles’ starting pitching ERA of 4.59 ranked 13th among 15 American League teams. Their starters’ total innings pitched ranked 14th.
We’ll see if they can improve on both of those numbers, but they probably will have a very hard time making the playoffs if those numbers do not get better. Although, the 2016 Orioles had a rotation ERA of 4.72 and won 89 games and made the playoffs.
Are there signs of it getting better?
Right-hander Kevin Gausman has allowed two earned runs or less four times in his last five starts with an ERA of 4.13. And that includes a start where he gave up five runs in 3 1/3 innings on May 14 in Kansas City.
Chris Tillman is 1-3 with a 5.59 ERA through six starts. But he did produce his second quality start Sunday, allowing three earned runs over six innings. For those focused on velocity, Tillman averaged 91.4 mph on his fastball against the Red Sox, touching 94 in that game, for his highest velocity of the year and one that is a bit more in line with his 2016 average of 92.9 mph.
Tillman is going to have to solve his first-inning issues. His ERA is 10.50 in that inning where he gives up a .370 batting average against and has allowed two of his four homers. His ERA is 4.30 after that.
As for Dylan Bundy and Wade Miley, they just need to do more of the same. Miley is 2-3 with an ERA of 2.82 that ranks fifth in the AL and Bundy is 6-4 with a 2.93 ERA that ranks eighth. Yes, the Orioles have two of the top eight ERA pitchers in the league through Sunday’s games. Miley has started to get deeper into games as well, pitching seven innings in two of his past three starts.
Fans debate the value of a quality start which, at a minimum, is six innings and three earned runs allowed. But the ERA in a quality start is often lower than the maximum ERA of 4.50. The Orioles are tied for fifth in the AL with 27 quality starts. They are 18-9 (.667) in those games.
I don’t have all the data on quality starts, but the times over the years when I have checked, the team wins a strong percentage of its games when getting one. Just like this year. So get more QS and get more wins.
But when an O’s starter can pitch seven innings or more, that is better yet. They have gotten 12 games this season of seven or more innings from their starters and are 9-3 (.750) in those games.
When it comes to rotation ERAs in the AL East, the Orioles are fifth among five teams. Tampa Bay at 4.01 ranks second in the AL. New York is fourth at 4.13 with Boston seventh at 4.27 and Toronto ninth at 4.31.
So at 4.59 the Orioles are at the bottom of the East. But they made the postseason with a higher rotation ERA in 2016. But that doesn’t mean all is well for this year’s rotation. Miley and Bundy have been huge. Alec Asher shows early promise. Gausman is trending up. Tillman may be as well.
Is the rotation truly showing signs of getting better or are there still plenty of concerns?