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Where will Orioles find more starting pitching?

Where will Orioles find more starting pitching?

The Orioles closed the 2016 season with six starting pitchers. They may open 2017 with those same six—and maybe more. 

Because of injuries or performance, teams usually need more than five starters. The Chicago Cubs, whose five best starters threw 152 of 162 games are the exception. 

But, the Cubs are so good that Jason Hammel, who 15 games and had a 3.83 ERA, has been inactive for the first two postseason series. 

The Orioles used nine starters in the season just past: Chris Tillman and Kevin Gausman (30 starters each), Ubaldo Jimenez (25), Yovani Gallardo (23), Dylan Bundy (14), Tyler Wilson (13), Mike Wright (12), Wade Miley (11) and Vance Worley (4).  

All but Worley are under club control for 2017. 

Tillman, Gausman and Bundy comprise a potentially formidable top three while Gallardo, Jimenez and Miley all pitched creditably in the season’s final weeks. 

Two seasons ago, the Orioles went into spring training with six starters for five spots: Tillman, Gausman, Jimenez, Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez and Bud Norris. 

Norris pitched himself out of the rotation, and the club tried Wilson and Wright. 

The Orioles want not only five good starters, but five potential starters in back of those five. 

They’ll hope that Wilson and Wright given another year could be part of that solution. 

For the moment, there don’t appear to be major league ready starters in the minors. Christopher Lee, who was shut down with a shoulder injury in mid-May, was 5-0 with a 2.98 ERA with Bowie. 

At the start of last season, the Orioles hoped Lee would be a potential starter late in the year, but that wasn’t possible. 

The most often used starters for the Baysox did not have impressive numbers: Jayson Aquino (5-10, 3.90), Brandon Barker (5-7, 4.75) Jason Garcia (6-10, 4.73), David Hess (5-13, 5.37) and John Means (4-8, 4.69). Matthew Grimes, who pitched well at Frederick, was 3-5 with a 4.68 ERA. 

It was even less promising at the Orioles’ highest level, Triple-A Norfolk. The Tides’ most used starter was Joe Gunkel, who went 8-11 with a 4.08 ERA. Gunkel has yet to be added to the 40-man roster and wasn’t a serious consideration for a September callup. 

If Wilson or Wright can show they’ve improved in 2017 that would be a help because none of the six top starters have options remaining, and just two of the top five relievers (Mychal Givens and Donnie Hart). 

In the early years of the Dan Duquette-Buck Showalter regime, the Orioles could option pitchers more freely, but now with the starters as well as Brad Brach, Zach Britton and Darren O’Day assured to be on the team, it’s harder for them to be more flexible.

Givens was so good and valuable that the Orioles never came close to optioning him in 2016. 

Perhaps the Orioles will want to make room for Parker Bridwell and Oliver Drake, who can be freely moved. Aquino was called up in September, but only got in two games then. 

At Duquette and Showalter’s season-ending press conference, Duquette indicated that he would be looking for additional starters and more left-handed pitching. 

The free agent market isn’t loaded with top shelf talent, and the Orioles will probably look for pitchers who’ve had good track records in the past, but have suffered a down year or two. 

MORE ORIOLES: Will there be a Vanimal sighting in 2017?

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Wade Miley roughed up again, Orioles shut out in St. Pete

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USA Today Sports

Wade Miley roughed up again, Orioles shut out in St. Pete

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Evan Longoria and Logan Morrison homered Friday night and the Tampa Bay Rays clinched third place in the AL East with a 7-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

Longoria led off the fifth with his 20th homer off Baltimore starter Wade Miley, marking Longoria's fifth straight 20-homer season and the ninth of his 10-year career.

RELATED: WILD CARD RACES WITH THREE DAYS REMAINING

Morrison hit his 38th homer off reliever Chris Tillman in the seventh.

Rays starter Jake Odorizzi left his final start of the season after four innings with a sore right knee.

Brad Boxberger (4-4) got the win as the first of four Tampa Bay relievers.

Miley (8-15) lost his fifth straight start, giving up four runs and five hits in four innings. He walked five, raising his major league-leading total to 93. The Baltimore bullpen gave up five more walks.

Trey Mancini had one of Baltimore's four hits. It was Mancini's 158th hit, tying Cal Ripken (1982) for second-place all-time among Oriole rookies.

The Orioles, shut out for the 11th time, lost for the 17th time in 21 games and dropped three games behind Tampa Bay with two games left in the season.

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MLB Wild Card Standings: Projecting the standings with three days left

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USA TODAY Sports

MLB Wild Card Standings: Projecting the standings with three days left

With the MLB postseason only five days away and three more days in the regular season the playoff field is almost set.

After Thursday night’s action, the St. Louis Cardinals were eliminated from the second Wild Card spot in the National League. Their 2-1 loss to the Cubs put them too far out of reach of the Rockies.

In the American League the AL East race is all but done after the Yankees lost on Thursday.

RELATED: NEW MLB BRACKET PROJECTION WITH ONE WEEK TO GO

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Not too many changes in the American League race after yesterday.

The New York Yankees (89-70) lost to the Tampa Bay Rays 9-6 at home after entering the day only three games back in the division. While the Boston Red Sox (92-67) lost too, three games to surpass is too much for even the Bronx Bombers to overcome.

It will be interesting though to watch both teams sweat. Boston hosts the Houston Astros who are trying to overtake the Indians for the top seed in the AL. New York hosts division rivals Toronto.

The Minnesota Twins (83-76) lost to the Indians after allowing 10 hits in the contest. Win or lose it does not matter how they end the season because they will be the No. 5 seed and the visitors in the American League Wild Card Game. Presumably it will be against the Yankees.

AL WILD CARD RACE (AS OF SEPT 29):

New York Yankees:     +6.0 
Minnesota Twins:           ---
 

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Colorado was off on Thursday night in preparation for their final series of the year against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Milwaukee Brewers (84-75) did manage to gain a half game with their nail biting 4-3 win over the Reds. Brett Phillips hit a go-ahead double in the sixth inning and the final three frames remained scoreless for both squads.

They now move to two games back of the Colorado Rockies (86-73) with three games to go.

Colorado will host their final series against the Dodgers. Milwaukee is traveling to the St. Louis Cardinals (82-77) for their final three games. St. Louis is now out of contention, four games out of the final Wild Card spot.

FanGraphs.com now has Colorado at a 93.3 percent chance of taking the final postseason spot.  Milwaukee moved up slightly to 6.7 percent.

MORE NATS: WALK-OFF FOR THE NATS, COURTESY OF DE AZA

NL WILD CARD RACE (AS OF SEPT 29):

#4 Arizona Diamondbacks:  +6.0
Colorado Rockies:                   ---
Milwaukee Brewers:              -2.0