The Baltimore Orioles played their final exhibition game of the spring Friday afternoon against the AAA Norfolk Tides as Orioles Opening Day approaches.
The Baltimore Orioles are coming off a playoff season that quickly ended after falling to AL East division rival Toronto Blue Jays in the 2016 AL Wild Card game.
However, the Orioles will be given the opportunity to seize revenge on the Blue Jays sooner than later as the two teams begin the 2017 MLB season at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on April 3 at 3:05 p.m. ET.
The O’s 2016 season marked the club’s third playoff appearance since 2012 and Orioles manager Buck Showalter‘s first full season as manager. In each of the three playoff seasons, baseball experts continually picked the Orioles to finish at the bottom of the AL East and the Orioles continued to prove them wrong.
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The Orioles retained most of the 2016 roster, which is exciting to hear from an offensive perspective. However, if you view it from a defensive perspective and hope the Orioles revamped last season’s starting rotation, then this is not what you wanted to hear.
With the Baltimore Orioles 25-man roster due Sunday, we’ve gone ahead and predicted the Orioles pitching staff for Opening Day.
Budding star Kevin Gausman will make the Opening Day start against the Jays, followed by Dylan Bundy pitching the final game of a two-game series. The Orioles rotation catches a break, receiving two off days in the first four days of the regular season, giving time for Chris Tillman and Wade Miley to return. According to MASNsports’ Roch Kubatko, the plan is to activate Miley from the 10-day disabled list April 9 against the New York Yankees.
With Tillman and Miley starting the season on the disabled list, the third starting pitcher will likely be veteran right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez. After that, serious questions linger regarding the fourth and fifth starting pitchers in the Orioles ailing rotation. Per Kubatko, the Orioles won’t need to worry about a fifth starter until April 15, where then they will decide on a spot starter.
Showalter told Roch Kubatko Thursday that Tyler Wilson and Vidal Nuno will be placed in on the Orioles bullpen as long relievers, but nothing is set in stone. Also, subtract Logan Verrett from the equation as he pitched his way to a minor league team after posting an 8.10 ERA this spring. In more of a surprise, the newly-acquired starting pitcher Alec Asher was optioned to AAA Norfolk Thursday.
With the latest Baltimore Orioles news and roster changes, here is our projection for the O’s pitching staff with Tillman and Miley on the disabled list:
Starters: Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy, Ubaldo Jimenez
The projections are under the impression that Gabriel Ynoa will get time in AAA Norfolk to start the season to get work in a team’s starting rotation.