Chris Tillman, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Yovani Gallardo. (AP Photos/Nick Wass, Patrick Semansky and Gail Burton).
The Baltimore Orioles enjoyed a four-game win streak, beating the San Diego Padres and Tampa Bay Rays in games played between June 22 and June 25. The run helped lift the Orioles (44-30) to a three-game lead in the American League East.
Unusual for their season so far, Baltimore can partially credit the victories to outstanding starting pitching. Outside of Chris Tillman’s awful start in the second half of a double-header on June 25, the O’s have had strong performances from each of their starting pitchers over the four-game stretch.
Starter Ubaldo Jimenez has had a very disappointing season so far, carrying a 4-7 record and an ugly 6.97 ERA. But he pitched one of his better games on June 22, allowing just four hits and two runs with seven strikeouts through six innings in a 7-2 victory over the Padres.
Fellow starter Yovani Gallardo returned from a short break due to shoulder soreness and pitched a decent game on June 24, giving up seven hits with three runs in his start over Tampa. Kevin Gausman was even better, surrendering just four hits and no runs through nearly eight innings in a 5-0 win over Tampa on June 25.
But this streak of hot starting pitching is an aberration for the Orioles this year. There haven’t been many times where both Jimenez and Gausman have tossed good games during the same week, one reason their combined starting record is 5-12. They may pull a good game out of their pockets every now and then, but for the most part, they’re simply unreliable.
The only starting pitcher Baltimore can actually rely on is Tillman, who despite his weak performance on June 25, carries an excellent 10-1 record. Tillman is no ace, but he’s been by far the most consistent member of the rotation this year. Still, he’s going to need help if Baltimore wants to remain atop the division during the last stretch of the season.
Orioles fans are begging for the front office to make a trade ahead of the Aug. 1 deadline for a decent starting pitcher to add to the team’s pitiful rotation. There are going to be teams that have no chance at the playoffs that will be willing to give up good pitchers in exchange for young prospects. The Orioles front office surely won’t give up any of their key players, but they could be willing to trade some of the fresh talent that’s being nurtured in the minor leagues. It will be well worth the team addressing their one glaring weakness just in time to make a run in the playoffs.