The Baltimore Orioles and their fans hope they got a glimpse of the future that they are hoping for when Kevin Gausman posted an impressive seven inning performance on Saturday when he dominated the Oakland A's after being recalled prior to the game to replace Miguel Gonzalez who had been placed on the disabled list. Although Gausman was not the original proposition for a six-man rotation, the question still remains whether or not it would be a good move for the Orioles to move to it when Gonzalez returns.
Originally, the six-man rotation question arose when Johan Santana was getting closer to pitching for the Orioles, but a torn achilles in his final extended spring training start ended his season.
Now that Gausman has showed that he can succeed as a starter in the big leagues, and yes we realize it is just one win, should the Birds move to a six-man rotation with Gausman included when Gonzalez returns?
Our answer is yes, but in a modified format, and let us explain with some numbers and some logic.
First off, the only starter currently in the rotation that has pitched poorly enough to justify being replaced is Ubaldo Jimenez, but lets face it, the Orioles are not going to move him to the bullpen after giving him the contract that they did, thus no one else has pitched poorly enough to be replaced, so unless you are going to put Gausman in the bullpen, a six-man rotation is the only way to have all six of these guys pitch.
Now, there are a multitude of numbers that help support the idea of a six-man rotation for several of the pitchers involved. The big thing to remember is that when you have a six-man rotation everyone is going to receive an extra day or two of rest between starts.
Chris Tillman has had a disappointing season thus far, and a six-man rotation could be the shot in the arm he is looking for as he is 9-6 with a 4.56 ERA when he has five days rest and is 11-3 with a 3.82 ERA when he has six or more days rest as opposed to a 17-18 record with a 4.60 ERA when on regular rest.
Another beneficiary of extra rest during his career has been Wei-Yin Chen who has a 10-8 record with a 3.89 ERA on five days rest and is 4-3 with a 3.32 ERA when pitching on six or more days rest, while on regular rest he owns an 11-9 record with a 4.46 ERA.
It doesn't end there as Miguel Gonzalez is 13-7 with a 4.18 ERA when pitching on regular rest, but is 5-3 with a 2.77 ERA when pitching on five days rest and 5-5 with a 3.31 ERA with six or more days rest.
Seeing a trend here?
Jimenez is 48-43 with a 3.70 ERA when pitching on regular rest and his ERA gets worse with each additional day of rest as he has a 4.31 ERA when on five days rest and a 4.74 ERA when on six or more days rest. Norris too pitches better when on regular rest as he is 25-21 with a 4.02 ERA when on regular rest as opposed to 11-21 with a 4.49 ERA when on five days rest and 5-10 with a 5.07 ERA on six or more days rest.
So what is the solution?
Again, we think a six-man rotation could be just the thing for the entire rotation, but it could not be a straightforward six-man rotation meaning that Baltimore should not simply pitch all six guys in the same order everytime . Norris and Jimenez, historically speaking, perform much better when on regular rest so the Orioles should keep Norris and Jimenez on four days rest, while maneuvering the other four around Bud and Ubaldo as that would, statistically speaking, put each starter in the best possible opportunity to succeed.
In addition, a six-man rotation would also help limit the innings that Gausman throws during the season to make sure he is still fresh in August and September for the stretch run.
Now, there is a caveat to this. If you have a six-man rotation, that means the Birds would either have to go with a six-man bullpen or go with a short bench. We believe the Birds would go with a six-man bullpen and utilize whichever starting pitcher is scheduled to throw a bullpen that day if they need the extra arm, but they could decide to part ways with one of their extra outfielders.
What do you think? Should the Orioles go to a six-man rotation? Let us know what you think by posting a comment!
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