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How would you slot the Orioles' rotation?

We’re continuing the pitching theme today in honor of the first Orioles’ workout in Sarasota on Thursday morning.

Before we get to that, though, just a little barcleaning matter.

Friday – or the weekend, really – will be my last post here until mid-March, when I’ll be blogging and tending from the Sunshine State.

Until then, I am taking a little bit of time off while Jeff Zrebiec and Peter Schmuck handle spring training duties.

But Connolly’s will remain open with a guest bartender, so you have no excuse to leave this place. And I didn’t just get you some generic slob with an apron and a bar rag and nothing else. No sir, I found you someone who knows his way around a stadium and a tavern.

Sun sports columnist Kevin Cowherd has agreed to jump behind the bar a few times a week for the next three weeks.

Kevin, as many of you know from his columns, sports and otherwise, has a great sense of humor and should add a little something extra to this dive. Assuming, that is, he doesn’t rob me blind and drink my inventory. (Rob K., you were right on, pal.)

Seriously, Kevin will come in and shoot the bull through mid-March. It’s perfect timing, since he is a keen follower of the University of Maryland men’s basketball program. So gear up for some serious Terps talk in this place – something that will be welcomed, I am sure.

Today, we’ll stick with my topic of (arguable) expertise: the Orioles.

Assuming Brad Bergesen (strained shoulder) is ready for the start of the season – and he says he expects to be -- and there are no other injuries, a trade or an implosion, the Orioles rotation in April should be some alignment of Bergesen, Jeremy Guthrie, Brian Matusz, Kevin Millwood and Chris Tillman.

I am wondering how you would slot them for the beginning of the season. Millwood, because he is the veteran, likely will be the Opening Day starter against the Tampa Bay Rays in Florida on April 6.

The Orioles’ home opener will be April 9, and likely will feature the No. 4 starter there. My suggestion for that spot would be Bergesen, if healthy, since he was the club’s best hurler before he got hurt last season and it is still an honor to be the home-opening pitcher, even if it isn’t on the traditional Opening Day.

Rotation-slotting becomes moot a few weeks into the season, once teams experience different off days. But, initially, it has some import.

So I am making sure the veterans are at the top and my lefty is in the middle. If I were Dave Trembley, this is how I would do it: Millwood, Guthrie (rough year, but he still deserves to be high up in the rotation), Matusz (the lone lefty, and the rookie doesn’t need to be higher up, pressure-wise) Bergesen and Tillman.

Do you agree?

Daily Think Special: How would you slot the Orioles’ five-man rotation?


Dan, good question.

I was thinking about it purely from a matter of experience. I would go:
1. Millwood
2. Guthrie
3. Bergesen
4. Matusz
5. Tillman

Even though Tillman does have more ML innings than Matusz, the difference there is slim and as of last sight, Matusz looked a little more polished than Tillman. Besides Matusz is older.

There's another reason why I like this order. It has Matusz pitching the home opener. I think a lot of fans want to see Matusz pitch that game (I'll be coming down from NY for that one and I know I want to see Matusz pitch).

Not that I would mind seeing Bergesen pitch. I watched him throw an 8 inning gem for Wieters's first game last season. But I've yet to see Matusz pitch live and I would love to see that happen with all the energy of Opening Day at OPACY.

I agree that slots become less meaningless as the season progresses. Therefore, I'd have Guthrie starting opening day. He's been a warrior the last 3 years, 2 of which he's had good stats and last year where he got hammered and still went out every 5th day and left everything on the field. Unfortunately, what he left didn't look very good. If its that important, take one of the many off days in April into account and swap Guthrie/Millwood. Since its not i'd go Guthrie, Millwood, Matusz, Bergeson,Tillman...unless someone outpitches Tillman this spring

With the caveat that it doesn't matter even a little bit, I imagine it will be: Millwood, Guthrie, Bergesen, Matusz, Tillman. Seniority rules early.

If we're slotting based on projected performance (projected by me), I would go: Matusz, Guthrie, Millwood, Bergesen, Tillman.

1) Guthrie
2) Millwood
3) Matusz
4) Bergeson
5) Tillman

I like having the lone lefty(that needs to change ASAP) in the middle and I like having Bergy pitch the home opener. After the first week, the order is meaningless, so give Brad the home opener after the way he pitched last year before the injury...he certainly deserves it. And I like keeping Jeremy as the true Opening Day starter. He's a workhorse and having Millwood behind him might push him a little harder.

There is absolutely no way Matusz should be higher than three.

I am, however, really starting to come around to the idea of having Guthrie be slotted into the 3 spot.

IF Bergeson comes back from injury and looks as sharp, I'd like to see:

Tillman (or Hernandez)

I put Hernandez in there as an option if Tillman struggles. Arrieta should not jump Tillman coming out of spring training. Hernandez should be in the 5 hole if either Matusz or Tillman falter or were to get injured.

sounds reasonable. what is up with Berkin. I know he had a rough year, but he was never out of a game and definitely knows how to pitch.

Barkeep's Reply: He's up for a relief spot, is in the mix for the rotation if there is an injury or would be a starter at Triple-A Norfolk.

Good choice on Kevin-Great relief pitcher and should make good read. I like the following :
2Bergeson(I think he can be as good as he wants to be)
3Guthrie(may restore confidence)
5Tillman(may be next years #1)

Getting excited and can't wait for opening day

Dan, based on seniority, your rotation makes sense. But I'd rather space out my workhorse starters a bit rather than have them following each other, then go with the guys with less experience. Not to mention the fact that I'd like to mix the styles of the starting pitchers a bit. I'd have a nice talk with Guthrie and let him know that he's my second #1 starter along with Millwood, but I'm putting him third in the order so he can be the leader for the guys going after him.


This all assumes that these are the five guys who earn the spots based on performance this spring. Interesting schedule this year, having sixteen straight scheduled game days without a day off. Unlike some years where they could go through the rotation twice without needing a fifth starter, this year they all get their first three starts on regular rest.

I'd run Guthrie, Millwood and Hendrickson out in Tampa and then put Bergesen, Matusz and Tillman in for the opeing series in Baltimore dropping Hendrickson thereafter. This year it's about entertainment and we all don't care what Millwood or Guthrie does. It's all about the kids.

Milwood gets the oppening nod and Guthrie moves down to the number 4 slot based on his poor performance last year. Begesen gets the number two slot based on his team best performance last year. Matusz gets number 3 based on his very strong finish last year. The number 5 slot is wide open. I do not think Tillman is ready, based on his poor performance last year. Hernandez and Berkin pitched poorly but maybe one of them or Tillman will emerge this spring. I am rooting on Patton, who should be healthy, has good potential and adds another lefy. So, Millwood, Bergesen, Matusz, Guthrie and Patton.


It's: Millwood, Guthrie, Bergesen, Matusz, Tillman

The only question mark is Bergesen and his incredibly stupid acting injury (I'm still a big fan of Brad though)

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