The Baltimore Orioles have a tough decision to make regarding a pitcher who mercifully is finally approaching the end of a contract that has been an albatross for the team.
Buck Showalter spoke before the day game on Wednesday, in which the Baltimore Orioles lost 4-3 with all three runs scoring on solo home runs.
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That means Gausman will start Friday and Wade Miley Saturday. Who will start Sunday?
Buck told the media he has set his rotation, but he hasn’t made it public. He also said “See how today goes” and “Today might affect it,” according to Roch Kubatko.
Well, how did ‘today’ go? Jayson Aquino warmed up in the early innings, but never entered the game. Alec Asher entered the game in the sixth inning and threw two scoreless innings, needing 24 pitches.
Personally, I don’t think this should take Asher out of the running for the spot. Throwing two innings and then having three days of rest should give Asher the option to start on Sunday.
Asher may not be able to go six innings as it is, but if he can give you four, then you can either piggyback him with Aquino (if the Orioles are still in the game) or Ubaldo (if they aren’t). The way the offense has performed lately, no guarantee they are in it.
Buck mentioned several items that make it tough to think Jimenez is going to start on Sunday. One was the fact that even though Ubaldo has great numbers in the past against Houston, most of them were several years ago.
Also, the skipper discussed the fact that Houston is a team that likes to run and steal bases, and how that presents a challenge for Jimenez. Think of Jose Altuve and friends just running around the bases.
If you want my opinion, I am ready to put Asher in the rotation and leave him there. He has pitched capably in every situation so far. Spot starter, long relief, multi-inning relief, eight-inning guy.
He also has earned the trust of Buck, which is huge.
Asher is 1-2 with a 2.33 ERA in 11 games spanning 29 innings so far. His strikeouts to walk ratio is around three, which is exquisite.
To show how good Asher has been, his WAR is a 1.0, and he is 10 runs better than a replacement-level player.
Only Bundy and Miley have better RAR numbers than Asher does, and they have a lot more innings.
Now, I would rather see Aquino start than Jimenez as well, but I don’t see him as a long-term solution. More like a Band-Aid.
The Orioles are mired in a rough stretch where the offense is scuffling minus solo home runs, and the starting rotation isn’t helping.
I believe something needs to be done to shake things up. Leaving a player who is performing the way that Jimenez is, no matter his track record, his want to, how well he is liked, etc. makes it ok to be performing this way.
It is time for the Baltimore Orioles to send a message to their players that they need to step up.
This means making the best move for the team, regardless of money, veteran status and other factors, and moving Jimenez to the bullpen. Or, better yet, releasing him.
If the team can release Miguel Gonzalez after a rough spring, they surely can get rid of Jimenez. Pay him money not to pitch for you, and everyone wins.