The problem that people kept bringing up throughout the offseason was that the Baltimore Orioles‘ starting rotation isn’t good enough to compete in the powerhouse that is the American League East. Through four games this season the Orioles are off to a disappointing 1-3 start, but baseball is a marathon, not a sprint. What the Orioles’ fans should start to worry about is the wear and tear the Baltimore bullpen is enduring already this season.
Last season, Orioles’ starting pitchers failed to go deep into games, which caused the bullpen to lose effectiveness as the year went on. This year, the Orioles need to rectify that problem by pitching deeper into games, and so far, they’ve failed to do that. On Opening Day, Chris Tillman pitched well despite not having his best stuff, but had to throw a lot of pitches and only made it five innings. Then, Ubaldo Jimenez got bit by the long-ball and pitched six innings allowing four runs, and then Wei-Yin Chen gave up a career-high 12 hits over 5.2 innings pitched. Finally, Miguel Gonzalez got shelled in 3.1 innings giving up seven runs on nine hits. Bud Norris has to act as the stopper.
Norris is not known for pitching deep into games. Though, in 21 starts for the Houston Astros last season before coming to Baltimore. he averaged six innings per outing. While that’s not bad, the Orioles need their No. 5 pitcher to act like a No. 1 and shutdown a strong Detroit Tigers lineup over seven innings or more to rest a bullpen that is quickly becoming weary.