Orioles First Half Grades: Starters


Chris Tillman

Grade 2

Tillman came into this season as the no-question ace of the staff, but he’s performed more like an end-of-the-rotation guy. There’s no denying that Tillman has the potential to lead this team, as he’s let up one or fewer runs in eight starts, but he simply hasn’t been consistent enough to do so. His ERA sits at 4.11, which puts him 70th in the league. However, he seems to be finding his groove as of late. He hasn’t allowed more than three runs in a game since June 5. If he can keep that up, expect this grade to rise.

Ubaldo Jimenez


As bad as Tillman has been this season, Jimenez has turned in an even worse campaign so far. The Orioles signed him for $50 million this offseason, but his 4.52 ERA and 3-8 record makes the deal look awful at this point. He leads the league with 60 walks in 18 starts and hasn’t really slowed that pace. The team is hoping for Jimenez to become the second half pitcher that he has been known to be, but a DL stint for a parking lot injury is not a good first step in the process.

Wei-Yin Chen


Chen has surprisingly been one of our most consistent pitchers this season. As good as that is for Chen, it doesn’t mean that he’s been a quality pitcher. He’s 9-3 in part because the Orioles score 5.28 runs per game when he pitches. That number ranks sixth in the entire league and makes his 4.15 ERA seem a lot better. You have to think at some point Chen will start losing these games if he can’t step his game to a another level.

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Miguel Gonzalez


In 15 starts this season, Gonzalez has allowed three of fewer runs. That’s been darn consistent for a No. 4 starter. He holds a 4.04 ERA, which ranks second among Orioles pitchers with at least 10 starts. He had a DL stint in early June and struggled to come back from it. However, if Gonzalez’s last two starts are any indication of what might come, Orioles fans should excited. Gonzalez line in the last two starts: 16 innings pitched, three earned runs and 11 strikeouts.

Bud Norris


Norris leads the rotation with a 3.96 ERA and has a 7-6 record. These numbers are almost exactly what you want from a No. 5 starter. The only problem is that the No. 5 starter’s ERA should be one of the worst in the rotation. Norris has been erratic this season, allowing four or more runs in seven starts, but holding teams to one of fewer runs six times. The team would certainly like Norris to be more consistent with his output, but they’ll take the ERA.

Kevin Gausman


Gausman is the future of this rotation, and showed that there’s a chance that he could be the present as well. Despite two starts with five earned runs, he’s kept his ERA at 3.51 in six starts, maintaining a 3-2 record. He shut down two of the league’s best offenses in Oakland and Toronto, displaying the fastball and off-speed pitches that made him a highly-ranked prospect a few years back. If Buck Showalter finally decides to keep Gausman up for the remainder of the season, he could make the Orioles a better team instantly.


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