Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Oriole Rotation Suddenly in Limbo

Brian Matusz was hit by a line drive in today's simulated game and his status for Saturday's start is in jeopardy.

Brad Bergesen was struck in a similar fashion last week, albeit worse, by all reports.

That leaves Jeremy Guthrie, Chris Tillman, Jake Arrieta and Zach Britton as the only completely healthy starters just three days from Opening Day.

Justin Duchscherer is not due back until April 21st at the earliest. The situations for Matusz and Bergesen remain more cloudy. It is not known if either will be ready for their respective starts on Saturday and Sunday.

The fates seem to be conspiring to give Chris Tillman a spot in the rotation. Eliminating Zach Britton from the conversation (if Britton is sent to Norfolk, it won't be due to performance), Tillman has the lowest ERA of the spring and a quick calculation of FIP shows he has the second lowest FIP (4.29) behind Bergesen (4.20).

But Tillman, seemingly, wasn't given a real fair shake coming into Spring Training. He was behind Jake Arrieta in the competition for the rotation from the beginning. And even though he outpitched nearly everybody else, the organization was tyring to find any way to send him back to Norfolk. With Bergesen, Matusz and Duchscherer banged up (to varying degrees), Tillman may sneak into the rotation and get his shot after all.

The team does not need a fifth starter until April 10th. But Matusz and Bergesen would both have to be healthy to push Tillman to Norfolk. Tillman's going north. And he'd better take advantage of the situation if he wants to stay there.


The Oriole Way said...

Seems like the most reasonable option would be go Guthrie, Arrieta, and Tillman in Tampa, giving both Matusz and Bergesen an extra day or two; Matusz (and if not him, then Bergesen) could then start the home opener on Monday, allowing the rotation to reset for Wednesday's game.

Heath said...

I agree. The team just seems dead set against giving Tillman a shot. Buck mentioned Britton yesterday, even though there is no need for a 5th until the 10th. So I wonder what Buck will actually do.