How Baltimore Orioles current roster makeup is hurting the team

BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 05: Seth Smith
BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 05: Seth Smith /

The Baltimore Orioles rotation has hindered the Orioles ability to use the bullpen appropriately throughout the 2017 MLB season.

The Baltimore Orioles have struggled with starting pitching all season. Short starts and terrible starts have made things difficult on Buck Showalter.

But, that’s not all that has made life tough for Buck and the Baltimore Orioles.

Friday night’s game was a perfect example.

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After leaving up five runs in the first two innings, Ubaldo Jimenez went on to pitch until the sixth inning.

Many fans at this point thought that the Orioles were lucky to keep the game at five runs, as Ubaldo did not have any clean innings.

So, when he went out for the sixth, he promptly hung a fastball over the middle that Brian McCann hit a solo home run.

Why did Buck not go to the bullpen to start the inning? What choice does he have?

Currently, the Orioles have seven guys in the bullpen, Richard Bleier, Brad Brach, Zach Britton, Miguel Castro, Mychal Givens, Donnie Hart and Darren O’Day.

You pretty much can bank on needing three of these guys almost every night, as the times that Oriole pitching has made it into the seventh inning are few and far between.

There are no long relievers here. Bleier and Castro have been used in many high-pressure situations recently, and also have probably pitched a little more than Buck would like to pitch them.

Hart is still a lefty specialist to a degree, as Buck is still selecting where to deploy him. The Orioles have to be cautious with O’Day and Britton considering their injuries this year.

Now, these issues aren’t in the bullpen. The starters haven’t gone deep enough in games, and when a start turns sour quickly, Buck usually has to stick with the starter and hope it doesn’t get too far away. Look back to the Chicago series.

But, there is another place where this all could be avoided.

The Orioles, knowing the depth issues with their starters, should have an eight-man bullpen.

That would allow someone like Alec Asher, Logan Verrett, Gabriel Ynoa or another minor leaguer to be the long man.

When a start goes bad, you don’t have to keep the starter in the game until the fifth to get to one of your relievers. Show the starter that if they don’t pitch well, they are out.

Maybe, having a long reliever would allow a move to the bullpen for Ubaldo or Wade Miley. But right now, they can’t do that.

The reason is that the Orioles, in reality, are carrying six outfielders.

Adam Jones, Trey Mancini, and Mark Trumbo are givens. Jones is the center fielder, Mancini is starting somewhere, and Trumbo is the primary DH, and he is likely starting in right field if he is not at DH.

But, you also have Joey Rickard, Seth Smith and Hyun Soo Kim clogging up the bench.

If Mancini is your every day left fielder, only one of these guys can start. The other two are on the bench.

Rickard needs to stay because he is your backup center fielder, is better than the other two versus left-handers, and brings a speed and defensive component to the team.

Kim is pretty much the Orioles’ cheerleader, something you’ll notice he does a great job at. He also did a great job starting the Orioles’ rally Friday night with a pinch-hit double after Ruben Tejada‘s walk.

Smith brings power, decent defense, but not much else. And, he is on the trade block.

If there is one player who Dan Duquette absolutely should trade, it is either Smith or Kim. And I doubt you can trade Kim since he hardly plays.

Next: Dodgers remain interested in Orioles closer Zach Britton

The Baltimore Orioles simply have too many outfielders on their roster, and it is affecting the way Buck Showalter can use his starting rotation and his bullpen.