Pardon me for being too positive here, but I'm not particularly worried about the Orioles pitching staff right now, even though I concede that the inconsistency of some of the starters is disconcerting at this late point in spring training.
Jeremy Guthrie is going to be Jeremy Guthrie, and with a stronger offensive team, he should be able to win quite a few games this year. He's a way better pitcher than his combined won-loss record the past couple years, and I think you're going to see proof of that pretty quick
Brian Matusz is going to live up to the hype and Jake Arrieta is the real deal, though I suspect he'll run over some potholes this season because of his inexperience. The big question marks are Brad Bergesen and Chris Tillman, and the Orioles aren't the only team trying to figure out the end of their rotation.
Bergesen is allowing too many baserunners this spring, but he's all about commanding the lower quadrant of the strike zone. When he does that, he gets people out and pitches well. When he doesn't, it isn't pretty. I think you're always going to see both Brad Bergesens at times during the season, but he does need to be more consistent this season to hold his place in the rotation.
Tillman has pitched okay this spring, but he has a big problem. He's always going to be evaluated based on the out-sized expectations he brought with him from the Seattle organization. And people forget he's actually younger than top minor league prospect Zach Britton.
Which brings us to Britton, who will start against the Yankees in about an hour from now. He is good enough to make this rotation, but that creates a tremendous dilemma for the organization. Should the Orioles throw him out there and try to get off to the best possible start this season or hold him back a few weeks and try to preserve a year of service time.
I'm sure the fans want to see him as soon as possible, and I think the coaching staff feels the same way. But I think you open the season with him in the rotation only if you are fantasizing that this club can compete for a wild card playoff berth this year. If not, you wait six or seven weeks and make sure you've got the guy under reserve for seven seasons instead of six.
Tough call. What do you think?
By the way, I'm still on vacation, so this is a bonus blog post. Now, get back to work.