What’s Happening to the Baltimore Orioles Starting Pitching?


The Baltimore Orioles starting rotation held the best ERA in the majors over the last three months of the season. Through the first five games of the playoffs however, they have only received one quality start from a starting pitcher.

I stated before the postseason began that if the Orioles starting pitchers were to carry their impressive play into the playoffs, then they would be a sure thing to make an appearance in the World Series. The starting pitching has not done so though, which is why Baltimore finds themselves down 2-0 in the American League Championship Series against the Kansas City Royals.

In Game 1 of the ALDS against the Detroit Tigers, Chris Tillman pitched decently. He only allowed two runs in five innings, but gave up two home runs. In the following game against the Tigers, Wei-Yin Chen got rocked by the Tigers starting lineup, allowing five runs and getting chased out of the ballgame in the fourth inning.

Oct 3, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Wei-Yin Chen (16) reacts as he comes out of the game during the fourth inning of game two of the 2014 ALDS playoff baseball game against the Detroit Tigers at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Finally, in Game 3, the starting pitching came through. Bud Norris was on the mound for the series clincher, and he was brilliant. He struck out six, and allowed just two hits and no runs in 6.1 innings as the Orioles advanced to the ALCS. This was the only impressive start by an Orioles starting pitcher in the 2014 postseason so far.

In Game 1 of the ALCS against Kansas City, Orioles ace Chris Tillman could not find his stuff, allowing five runs in just 4.1 innings. In Game 2, the Orioles handed the ball over to Bud Norris, rewarding him for his impressive start in Game 3 of the ALDS by bumping him up from the number three pitcher to the second.

However, he did not perform as the Orioles were expecting him to when they slotted him to be the starter of this game. He lasted just 4.1 innings as well, allowing four earned runs and nine hits. The Orioles were in both games until the end, but they lost both as well.

There are many players you can point fingers at and blame for the losses in Game’s 1 and 2 of the ALCS, but I think the largest reason and the biggest blame should fall in the hands of the starting rotation. The starters have to pull it together, or the Orioles will be watching the Wold Series from the same place you and I are, on their couch.