Baltimore Orioles: Is five straight quality starts too much to ask for?

Apr 12, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez (31) pitches during the first inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 12, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez (31) pitches during the first inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports /

Starting Pitchers for the Baltimore Orioles have tossed four quality starts in a row.

It may come as a surprise, but over the past four games, the starting pitchers for the Baltimore Orioles have been good. They’ve been splendid as a matter of fact. Fresh off a series victory over the Toronto Blue Jays, Orioles starters pitched 24.1 innings. Each starter allowed five hits or less, and a combined five total earned runs, good for a 1.87 ERA.

It’s helpful that Toronto is playing their worst baseball in years, and has the worst record of all teams in the majors. However, you cannot deny that the starters were downright pleasing to watch in that four-game set.

Kevin Gausman got it started Thursday night. Over six innings, Gausman threw 97 pitches, allowed five hits, and just one earned run. He struck out three and walked two before coming out of the ballgame. The Orioles only needed two runs to defeat the Blue Jays, 2-to-1.

More from Baltimore Orioles

Wade Miley stepped up on Friday, recovering from his oddity on April 9. Miley threw 101 pitches through six innings, allowed five hits, and gave up three earned runs. The best part about his outing was that he didn’t walk anybody, and struck out eight batters. The Orioles went on to win that one, 6-to-4.

On Saturday afternoon, Alec Asher made his debut, pitching 6.1 innings, and possibly earned another start in the rotation. Asher allowed just three hits, and one earned run on 93 pitches. His outing was spoiled, however, when Tyler Wilson allowed a walk-off homer to Kendrys Morales, and the Jays beat the Orioles 2-to-1.

Yesterday, Dylan Bundy threw 99 pitches in six innings, allowing five hits, and zero earned runs. The Orioles went on to clobber Toronto, 11-to-4.

The Baltimore Orioles look to begin interleague play with a victory.

Interleague play starts for the Orioles tomorrow night, as they open a three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds. The Orioles have seen the Reds just nine times in the regular season since moving to Baltimore in 1954. That’s tied with fewest of any team {with the Chicago Cubs, and St. Louis Cardinals}.

There was also that meeting in 1970. You know, October 10-15. Remember? Four-games-to-one.

I know you know.

Tomorrow night marks the first time since 2014 the Orioles have seen the Reds. The O’s outscored the Reds 20-11 that series, and swept them out of Baltimore.

The Orioles and Reds both have played well through the season’s first two weeks, and both clubs have eight wins.

Can they make it five quality starts in-a-row?

The starting corp for the Orioles enters tomorrow’s game against the Reds with a 3.68 ERA. That is remarkable considering one of the starters carries a 10.38 ERA through two starts this season. Which one of the starters is that?

Ubaldo Jiménez.

Who gets the nod for Tuesday’s series opener, and tries to continue the streak of quality starts for Orioles starters?

Ubaldo Jiménez.

We know that Ubaldo has struggled this season, allowing ten earned runs in just 8.2 innings. But there is a silver lining here. Jiménez has never lost to the Reds. There are only two teams Jiménez has never lost to, and coincidentally enough the Orioles are the other one.

Jiménez has started six games against the Reds and is 3-0. He holds a career 3.00 ERA against them, and only three players from the Reds have seen him in the past. Joey Votto has seen him the most; he’s 5-for-15 with two doubles. Zack Cozart is 2-for-2, and Arismendy Alcantara is 1-for-2. Nobody has hit a home run off of Jiménez.

Next: These games are easy like Sunday morning

If the Orioles are going to continue their winning ways, Ubaldo Jiménez has to pitch well tomorrow night. He has to be on the bubble for relocation to the bullpen once Chris Tillman returns, so his next few starts should determine whether he remains in the rotation, or becomes the odd man out yet again.