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July 6, 2011

Which Orioles starter will have the best second half? Why?

I was recently asked about the Orioles’ starting rotation and what has gone wrong.

I don’t have that kind of time.

But let’s just say that no one is the rotation has had the kind of season they dreamed about when April started. And some, like Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman, have had nightmares.

It’s hard to put it in words what it means when Mitch Atkins, who didn’t throw a pitch in a spring game due to injury, has turned in one of the best individual starts of the past month.

Heading into Wednesday’s finale in Texas, Jeremy Guthrie’s 110 innings and 3.93 ERA makes him the rotation’s best pitcher for the first half despite a 3-10 record. And that speaks volumes since Jeremy couldn’t buy a win for a while there.

There are only five games left before the break. So I am asking you to get your crystal ball out. I want to know who you think will be the best Orioles starter of the second half. And, yes, they have to be with the Orioles to count.

Think it through. Because there’s a question circling around most of the candidates. Guthrie could be traded if the Orioles get the right offer. Zach Britton’s innings will be limited. Jake Arrieta’s elbow inflammation may flare up again. And who knows when Matusz and Tillman will be back or how many starts a Brad Bergesen or an Atkins or a fill-in-the-blank get in the second half.

I’m going to go with Arrieta. But that’s a hunch more than anything.

Daily Think Special: Which Orioles starter will have the best second half? Why?

Posted by Dan Connolly at 6:00 AM | | Comments (37)
Categories: Connolly's Corner Sports Bar


Guthrie---I think he'll stay w/the club because the O's will probably receive only low-ball offers for him due to his W/L record. He seems to be this year's Millwood--bad run support--altho Millwood blew up later on--But, my hunch is that Jeremy will continue to pitch well and be rewarded with some support....

Dave McNally-because he won't lose any games in the 2nd half.

I guess I will go with Arrieta as well. Reason: Guthrie will continue with his hard luck unless traded, and none of the others regardless of whether they are in Baltmore, Norfolk, or Bowie has shown anything except Britton who as you noted will probably be heading on vacation sometime in August.

Britton. When the going gets tough (and it will the second half) the tough get going. Britton has not been beaten down yet like the others,

Jeremy Guthrie. He's been durable, so he should be able to continue taking the mound every 5th day. He's been consistent. And he's pitching well. Can't say those 3 things about any other O's starter.

I'm so disappointed with the way the Os are playing. It's hard to hold out hope that things will ever drastically change. At this point the Oriole starter who will have the best second half will be which ever one is traded.

I am going with Eddie Watt(the dude who pitched last night). I also think we need to resume the Dick Hall search process since Rapada is history. All seriousness aside, I will go with crisis ridden Bergesen, oops he just got hit with a line drive. What happened to the injury prone ex-A?

Guthrie will have a better 2nd half because he will be on another team (and he deserves to win).

Guthrie. He will end up in the playoffs with another team.

I'll go with Derrick Lee. He hasn't produced the numbers so far, but his approach at the plate has been consistent, and I think he'll find his stroke in the 2nd half.

Did you mean starting pitcher? Yuck. I'll go with Guthrie, I guess. I wish I could answer Matusz with a good conscience, but I can't. That is the most depressing story of this Orioles season, if you ask me.

They will all be fine if they don't have to pitch against major leaguers,,,,,,, oh, you mean they will , oh my goodness , are they in trouble...............

bergy- he usually pitches better the 2nd half of the season. He is like Reynolds he gets better when the weather gets warmer.

I'll go with Bergesen as i think he will get another shot and perform well. I think Matusz will be back but not this season.

bergy- he usually pitches well in the 2nd half. (if he doesn't get hit in the leg). He is like Reynolds, he gets better when the weather gets warmer.

Guthrie...because he'll be pitching for a different organization.

I was amused by the question, and I'm even more amused with the answers. The way I look at it, it doesn't matter who's going to have the better second half. This franchise is sinking faster than the Titanic.

I do not think any of the starters will have a better second half of the season. It looks as if the second will be a total collapse. If Gutherie is traded, the Oroiles will only win about 25 more games and end with 61 or 62 wins.

I did not think this team was superior to last year and the smoke has cleared from the mirrors A Mcfail and P Angelos created with signing has been free agents not one other club wanted. Again bottom of the barrel talent will not get the team a 500 record.

We should release Lee , Vlaid and bring up the yougsters and take our lumps but at least they are learning and not using canes.


The answer to that question is like digging for a pony in a 12 foot pile of horse**** :)

Grow the arms, buy the bats. There are no pitchers on the major league roster that Andy Macphail is responsible for "growing." I think that speaks to his effectiveness as General Manager and President of Baseball Operations, and to the tenured good old boys in the front office who can't even spell a Latin American country. As jim66 would say "You can't make this stuff up."

I am waiting for a journalist to ghost write a bio about Andy Macphail titled "Peter and I and Last Place."

I feel for you having to create these moot question about the O;s during another forgetful season. We need a new organization from top to bottom. The top i.e. owner
is not going away so where should the house cleaning start should be the question.I would keep the team in tact because they have few valuable trade chips except maybe Guthrie and he's the only O's pitchers who can get to the 7th. Very discouraged about this organization now. Even Buck's comments sound more Trembly like and embrace the philosophical approach to losing. It;s sad that this organization has dropped off to where the only excitement each night is how they will lose . I am waiting for the game they get 15 hits and are shut out since their clutch hitting is lacking moreso each day.

NONE of the above

Ok, you don't like that answer.


Guthrie probably will...though perhaps with another team. On an off topic, had a few thoughts after last night's game. I think all the issues here are painfully obvious to see. Buck goes to Johnson because the man gets the job done alot more regularly than the "B" team, the Rapadas, the Rupes, the Accardos, whomever is being bounced down to AAA and back again. Koji, you're afraid he's going to have a stroke if he pitches more than one inning. So Johnson didn't get the job done this time. It happens. The real problem, again, painfully obvious to anyone who has watched even a single O's game this season, is the fact that we absolutely, positively, CANNOT hit with men in scoring position. That problem was supposedly solved this past winter when we signed Vlad and D-Lee. Sadly, these guys are less than shadows of their former selves. I cannot help but think if it weren't for their hefty contracts, they'd have already been released. But that brings us to the yet another painfully obvious problem, the sore lack of prospects at the higher minor league leaves to fill in. If we don't play D-Lee, who plays first? Brandon Snyder? Guy was hitting .260 against AAA pitching. Not another Eddie Murray. But Vlad has really got to change FAST or he should go. He can't run, hits only singles and way WAY too many DPs. Again, all very, painfully obvious. Which brings us to the starting rotation. Well, what can I say? Poor Matusz just got lit up in his first AAA start. Something is wrong with this young man whether he thinks there's nothing wrong or not. You don't lose 5-10 mph off your fastball without there being a problem. And this guy was supposed to be our ACE this year. The rest, well, why beat a dead horse? Perhaps what is most disheartening about all of this is, we fans are not getting any kind of message from the Warehouse that something is being done, that things will indeed improve. I'm a fan, have been for 31 years, and I always will be, will go to games, win or lose, but it would be nice to know that the level of commitment of the fans, who, as a few people have said here, continue to torture themselves with being a fan of this team, was matched by ownership, because if it isn, we aren't hearing it. People say that George Steinbrenner was a terrible owner. I'd have King George over PA any day of the week as for him, losing was not an option. I saw a clip years ago of George Steinbrenner talking to the Yankees in a spring training and telling them how important it was that they take pride in the fact that they wore the pinstripes. Think O's players have that same pride? Don't think so. That's all.

Brad Bergenson will put it all together in the second half and lead the staff in 2nd half wins and ERA. He's been showing signs, and I believe he is due to break out of a prolonged slump.

I'd pick Gutherie, but I feel certain he'll be traded for a significant package of prospects. Given the number of contenders in need of starting pitching, the Orioles should get a pretty good haul.


What's wrong with Brian Matusz is Brian himself. He's stubborn, doesn't listen to his coaches and hasn't put in the work it takes to prepare for an MLB season. People around the organization have said that, including Jim Palmer (albeit indirectly, but he has). He thinks he is all that, but he ain't all that.

Steinbrenner was a winner and held everyone around him to that standard. Sure he made a ton of mistakes doing it, but Angelos doesn't even try. Angelos is nothing but a slimy ambulance chaser who knows nothing about pride.

Justin Duchsherer

Matusz - gut feeling more than anything - he will rebound

Other teams continue to add (small market teams at that), while the O's sit on their hands. This is a big reason why we are who we are....I wonder if MacPhail has ever heard of these guys ?

From mlbtraderumors;

Royals, Blue Jays, Cubs Sign Venezuelan Prospects
By Ben Nicholson-Smith [July 6 at 1:10pm CST]
The Royals signed 16-year-old prospects Angelo Castellano and Luis Lara, the Blue Jays signed 16-year-old prospects Wilmer Becerra and Jesus Gonzalez and the Cubs signed catcher Mark Malave and third baseman Ricardo Marcano, according to Ben Badler of Baseball America. The bonuses are not yet known for the players, who are all Venezuelan.
Castellano is a right-handed hitting shortstop who may eventually have to move to second or third base. He has good hands and has shown power potential, according to Badler. Lara is a catcher whose defense is ahead of his bat at this point.
Becerra has good speed and will likely become an outfielder. Scouts are mixed on his bat with some saying he's one of the top available right-handed hitters and others saying he struggles in games. Gonzalez has raw power and standout arm strength, according to Badler's subscriber-only report. He's an average runner who appears to have drawn interest from Arizona, as well as Toronto.
Malave has a strong arm that may be his best tool. The switch-hitter isn't a lock to remain at catcher and not all scouts believe in his hitting ability. Marcano has one of the best left-handed swings available and could hit for average and power. He is an average runner who may have to move to left field, according to Badler.

Guthrie -- because as Chuck Thompson used to say, "Over the course of the 162 game season the breaks will even out."

Don't expect Guthrie or anyone else to be traded (except maybe Vlad for a mediocre prospect) because the Os cannot afforf to give up any decent player they have under contract beyond this year, and no one will offer them fair compensation for the good players they do have.

I have a hypothesis. Last I checked, the pitchers were batting around .370 with an OPS over .800. The only reasonable scientific explanation of this is that there has been a localized inversion of the space-time continuum. Good pitchers/terrible hitters are not terrible pitchers/good hitters. Black is white. Up is down. Dogs and cats living together.

The solution is simple, though. You just swap your weakest hitters for your weakest pitchers. So your starting five for the second half are Vlad, DLee, Luke, Andino, and whatever 14 year old they've called up from a Harford County middle school to play second base at that point.

You're welcome.

Guthrie. Provided he can get past his bad habit of pitching well most of the game, only to get out-pitched because he gives up a homer at the worst possible moment.

I think he's maturing and is been pitching well of late--minus his Guthrie moments--and with B-Rob returning to make the lineup even better, I'm predicting he actually ends the season with a winning record.

The only question: Will he end it in an Orioles' uniform? Flip a coin.

Quite a wry sense of humor there, Dan, asking a twisted question like that. I got a laugh out of the reference to the Titanic by a previous blogger. I'll take that a step further and say picking which O's pitcher will have the best 2nd half is kind of like picking which part of the ship will be the last to go underwater. What the hell difference does it make?

Lets just say it -- the O's stink. They can't pitch, can't run, can't score runs and now the defense is so bad it's become a joke.

They are close to the worst team in Baseball.

Buck was supposed to be the "man", the second coming, well I'm under whelmed.

The O's used to be at least a good fielding team, under Buck they are barley a AA team.

It breaks my heart to watch the guys that have talent and want to win try to carry this miserable bunch day after day.

Jake Arrieta. His stuff is really good; but more important, he seems to have the best mental makeup of any of the starters. Jake hates to lose, and is not intimidated by the AL East.

whichever one gets traded.

Biggest winner huh?
Next question.

Earlier today I posted that I thought Guthrie would be the guy. I hope everyone realizes that I was just kidding.

NONE of the above
!'m an old man now with a memory problem. The problem is I remember when this franchise was the best from top to bottom. Now it's only and all bottom. Is it time to call Mayflower to help us out? I do have a prediction: O's will win fourth game in Boston mainly because the Sox will be exhausted from having scored 48 runs in the first three games. RR

Michael Ballard

Which is kinda like going with $1 on the Price is Right, but those wagers win pretty often.

Zaxh Britton.

The life cycle of life of a successful rookie pitcher is as follows:

1. He starts off like gangbusters.

2. Word gets around the keague
of his strengths and weaknesses and the opposing batters adjust and beat him to death with all that new-found knolwdge.

3 Hot shot rookie now readjusts to batter adjustments and is better than ever.

As opposing hitters start to figure him out, Zaxch has already started his readjustment period in return. He will take his lumps but will successfully readjust or he won't, and his career will be determined by that. fortress of talent and heart.

And I think he will succeed by not being obvious, He'll be one of those guys next year or the following one with whom people will judge sportswriirters.

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.

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