Baltimore Orioles: Wada struggles


Tsuyoshi Wada suffered a bit of a setback yesterday in terms of making the starting rotation, although Buck Showalter said that he continues to view Wada as a potential starter. The Orioles were beaten yesterday by the Minnesota Twins by the score of 5-0, and in the process caused some serious questions to be asked about Wada and his chances of making the starting rotation. Over three innings of work Wada gave up four hits and four runs, walking two. In fairness, he also struck out three hitters and rebounded nicely to have a 1-2-3 third inning. However this isn’t Walt Disney World so there’s really no reason to sugar-coat it. Wada certainly didn’t, as after the game he apologized to the fans that had paid admission to see him pitch yesterday.

That’s one thing I’ll say about Wada; he accepts accountability, which is fairly refreshing. In all walks of life (sports or otherwise), it seems that people want to pass the buck when it comes to their own faults. Wada stepped up after the game and said that he had a bad outing and that there were quite a few things he felt he needed to work on. That rubs me a lot better than the comments made by Nationals’ starter Edwin Jackson after giving up seven runs over four innings on Saturday to the O’s. Jackson said that he wasn’t discouraged by his start, and that he had never pitched well in spring training. Buck Showalter said that he felt Wada’s struggles were attributable to anxiety about getting to where he wants to be. Showalter also seemed impressed by how Wada rebounded in the third inning of the game. In fairness to Wada, odds are that in a regular season game a guy wouldn’t get lifted after three innings after giving up four runs, especially after a strong third inning. Showalter said that he expects Wada to get see some action either Saturday or Sunday in a game (as a reliever).

Earlier in the week I said that my prediction for the starting rotation was: Arrieta, Hunter, Hammel, Matusz, and Chen. My personal opinion is that Wada will start the season as a starter…in the minors. Notice that I didn’t commit to a specific affiliate; it would stand to reason that he would go to Norfolk, however with Brad Bergesen being sent down to be a starting pitcher there as well, even the Norfolk rotation might have competition. Nevertheless, Buck Showalter also said that he was viewing Wada as a starter because that’s what he’s always been. Given that he did miss some time with an injury early in camp (which might explain why he’s a bit behind), the minor leagues would probably the right place for him at the moment. That’s obviously something that remains to be seen, and will be decided jointly by Showalter and Dan Duquette.

Showalter had previously announced that Jake Arrieta would start Saturday’s game against Pittsburgh, and yesterday he said that Tommy Hunter would start Sunday against Tampa. Remember my comment about Sunday’s starter being the starter on Opening Day; so is Tommy Hunter the Opening Day starter? Nothing’s been announced yet, however I stand by my other prediction of Jake Arrieta being the starter on April 6th. If that’s the case, the O’s are probably just looking to give him an added day of rest. Final rosters are due in the league office by 5 PM eastern time next Wednesday, so I suppose we’ll know for sure by then at the latest.

Follow me on Twitter @DomenicVadala