Your turn: Who will be in the O's rotation at season's end?

July 22, 2011|By Matt Vensel

Before the season, the consensus among local and national baseball analysts was that the Orioles' young starting rotation would either make or break their season. Most of "the cavalry" had major-league experience under their belts, and their progression needed to continue for the Orioles to have a chance in the AL East.

Quick, can you name who left Sarasota as a member of the Opening Day rotation?

In case you can’t, it was Jeremy Guthrie, Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta, Chris Tillman and Brad Bergesen.

But the Orioles couldn’t make it a couple of days without making a change. Matusz was placed on the disabled list before making a start, and lefty wunderkind Zach Britton was called up from Norfolk.

Since then, it’s been a revolving door. Bergesen and Tillman were both demoted (Bergesen is back up in the majors, but he is being used as a reliever and a spot starter). Matusz got rocked when he returned to the team, and he was sent down to Norfolk and still got knocked around. Britton was recently sent to Double-A Bowie for contractual reasons; he will be back later this month, but how long will it be until he is shut down as the team limits his innings?

Nine pitchers have started games for the Orioles, and only Guthrie, Britton and Arrieta have started more than 10. Guthrie has lost more games than three guys in the Opening Day rotation have started.

The sad thing is there has been so much turnover in the rotation that I had trouble thinking of their five current starters (it’s Arrieta, Guthrie, Chris Jakubauskas, Mitch Akins and Alfredo Simon).

And it looks as if that revolving door will keep on spinning.

Guthrie is drawing serious interest on the trade market, and Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun believes the Orioles are considering dealing away their top starter. The Orioles are also considering converting setup man Jim Johnson into a starter after the trade deadline, so he could be joining the rotation. And perhaps Tillman and Matusz will be recalled from the minors -- along with Britton.

Like I said, more spinning to come. Hold on tight, Orioles fans.

Your turn: Who will be in the Orioles rotation at season’s end?

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