Early Grades for Baltimore Orioles’ Starting Rotation, Bullpen

Early Grades for Baltimore Orioles’ Starting Rotation and Bullpen

Dave Wallace & Bud Norris
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The biggest concern, regarding the Orioles’ playoff aspirations has to be whether their pitching will hold up. And while it’s still early, the Orioles currently sit at 8-7 in the tough AL East and for the most part, their pitching has been good. As a club they have an ERA of 3.93, a big improvement so far over their 4.20 ERA from last season.

Here are the grades for their starting and relief pitchers.

Bud Norris: C+

Bud Norris
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Bud Norris: C+

Bud Norris
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

It’s tough to predict how a starter will perform based off of only two starts, however, in those starts I’d give Bud Norris a C+ overall. After a disappointing start against the Tigers, where Norris allowed five runs in only five innings of work, he bounced back in his next start to shut down the Blue Jays. In seven innings, the right-hander allowed zero runs on five hits; even though he got a no-decision, Norris pitched very well.

Miguel Gonzalez: C-

Miguel Gonzalez
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Miguel Gonzalez: C-

Miguel Gonzalez
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

In three starts so far, Miguel Gonzalez is 1-1 with a 6.28 ERA and that’s why his grade can't be better than a C-. But that ERA is inflated due to a short outing against the Tigers in awful weather where Gonzalez allowed seven runs in only 3.1 innings pitched. However, since then, Gonzalez has shown improvement. He pitched six innings allowing three runs against the Yankees and then gave up no runs in five innings against the Rays.

Ubaldo Jimenez: D-

Ubaldo Jimenez
Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Ubaldo Jimenez: D-

Ubaldo Jimenez
Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

The only reason that Ubaldo Jimenez, the million man, isn’t getting an F is because it’s still early and Jimenez has always been known as a pitcher who starts off slowly. A 7.31 ERA and an 0-3 record through three starts isn’t acceptable regardless and what’s even worse is his 10 walks allowed through only 16 innings of work for an average of 5.6 walks per nine innings. Jimenez must turn his season around quickly.

Wei-Yin Chen: B-

Wei-Yin Chen
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Wei-Yin Chen: B-

Wei-Yin Chen
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Wei-Yin Chen has been above-average; despite a 2-1 record, he has an ERA of 4.76, but he gets a B- because he’s steadily improving. In his first start of the season, he was chased after 5.2 innings allowing 12 hits, but in his last start against the Rays, he dominated, retiring the first 10 batters he faced in a row before eventually pitching 6.1 innings allowing only one run.

Chris Tillman: A+

Chris Tillman
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Tillman: A+

Chris Tillman
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Tillman is a total stud, he’s become the dominating ace that the Baltimore Orioles have been missing since Mike Mussina left Baltimore back in 2000. Tillman is 2-1 with a 1.71 ERA and his only loss came against the Toronto Blue Jays where Tillman allowed zero earned runs over eight innings of work; yeah, talk about tough luck. Tillman will be an American League Cy Young award candidate come year's end.

Team Bullpen: A

Darren O'Day
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Team Bullpen: A

Darren O'Day
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Orioles’ bullpen has been a strong point of the club since their magical 2012 playoff run and so far in 2014, that’s no different. Josh Stinson and Ryan Webb are struggling, but other than that, the bullpen has been rock solid. Darren O’Day, Evan Meek and Zach Britton have combined to pitch 24.2 scoreless innings of relief so far this season. Tommy Hunter is 4-of-5 in save chances and looks good thus far. All is well in the bullpen.

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