No, no, no…this is still an Oriole column as opposed to one about geology! The only science that fits my appetite is astronomy, so no worries there. However we all know what a foreshock is I presume; a small earthquake that’s in essence a precursor to a larger-scale one (the opposite of an aftershock). My question is whether or not this weekend’s Oriole games give us a foreshock or preview of sorts of what we’ll see next weekend when the season begins. Originally the plan was for Jake Arrieta to start yesterday against the Twins, yet he was pushed back a day to this afternoon against the Pirates. Is Buck Showalter trying to give his presumed Opening Day starter an extra day of rest and at the same time line him up to pitch next Friday?…
…survey says: no idea folks. Showalter’s Opening Day starter and his decisions about the rotation in general has been a closely guarded state secret. He hinted this week that he knew what he was going to do for the most part, however there are still some details to iron out. Some of my brethren in the writing field are starting to get a bit frustrated with the whole thing about who’s on the starting rotation and who’s not. Quite honestly, I have no problem with it. It’s certainly worth telling the people involved that they’re going to be in the rotation and so forth so they can prepare, but why give the opposing team (Minnesota in this case) the chance to know who they’ll be facing?
That aside, my prediction for the rotation remains the same: Arrieta, Hunter, Hammels, Matusz, and Chen (and in that order, but perhaps with Matusz and Chen being interchangeable). That would mean that Arrieta will be starting next Friday afternoon on Opening Day at the yard. So it does in fact stand to reason that Showalter moved him back a day so as to give him some extra rest, however also to ensure that he didn’t end up with a full seven days between starts. I’ll be interested to see how deep into today’s game Arrieta goes, as I suspect that Showalter already knows and perhaps has even told Jake that he’ll be the Opening Day starter.
Tommy Hunter was also pushed back to tomorrow afternoon against Tampa, and if my calculations are correct that would make him the starting pitcher Saturday night at the yard against the Twins. Again, I (along with everyone else) can only speculate because nothing’s been announced. As I said yesterday, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Arrieta and perhaps Hunter skip the last two exhibition games in Sarasota and Wednesday’s game in Norfolk so that they can come north ahead of the team to get settled in. The only caveat there would be that if they stayed with the team they could in theory throw their normal bullpen sessions that pitchers throw between starts, however that remains to be seen.
The other question I have is about left field. My personal opinion is that Nolan Reimold is going to be the everyday left fielder, however Endy Chavez has looked pretty good in camp. Honestly, I’d hate to see a “young” guy like Reimold get passed up because a veteran might have played just a little better. I’d prefer that the Orioles go with youth that has staying power with the team in the future. They need to find out if Reimold plays a role in that future. Having said that, Chavez is playing center field this afternoon in Bradenton against Pittsburgh. Part of the reason that Duquette wanted Chavez was to give Adam Jones a day off here and there. Ultimately more than anything else, I’m going to be watching the pitchers in these last two Grapefruit League games to hopefully get a glimpse of what Oriole fans are to expect this coming season.
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Update: I guess the premise of this column is almost pointless in a sense, because the Birds changed tomorrow’s starter to Wei-Yin Chen. Tommy Hunter will throw a bullpen session this week leading up to the regular season.