Baltimore Orioles sending Tyler Wilson to the rotation?

Courtesy of Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports
Courtesy of Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports /

With a home start this late in the spring, are the Baltimore Orioles planning on sending Tyler Wilson to the starting rotation?

I found it interesting that the Baltimore Orioles tapped Tyler Wilson to start this afternoon’s game against Pittsburgh. While Wilson only pitched three innings, one has to wonder if the coaches aren’t looking for a potential fifth starter to take north. After all, both injuries and ineffectiveness have plagued the O’s thus far this spring.

Courtesy of Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports
Courtesy of Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports /

Wilson was decent in the starting role this afternoon, and for the most part held Pittsburgh in check. Wilson’s line: 3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 0 K. As I said, it’ll be interesting to see if Wilson or anyone else cracks the opening day rotation. If so, perhaps you can look at this game as having foreshadowed that.

Wilson was greeted rudely when he gave up a solo homer to Pittsburgh’s Joyce in the first inning. That said, keep in mind that Joyce haunted the Orioles for years when he played in Tampa. Whatever Oriole pitching seemed to throw out there, he’d hit. However the good news for the Birds was that they’d eventually get the bats going later in the game. Chris Davis‘ RBI-double would tie the game at one in the last of the fourth, and the Birds would take the lead later in the inning with Mark Trumbo‘s two-run homer.

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Jonathan Schoop would add a solo home run in the last of the fifth, however Joyce would strike again with an RBI-single in the sixth. The Orioles are presumably going to be glad that Joyce will no longer be on an AL East club. He’s one of these “loosey-goosey” type of hitters, who as I said seemed incapable of being retired by various teams – including the Orioles. Incidentally, the Birds would add a fifth run in the last of the seventh on J.J. Hardy‘s first homer of the season. Pittsburgh would net an RBI-single and an RBI-triple in the eighth to tie the game at five.

However all was not lost – if you’re looking at wins and losses, that is. After the Orioles announced that there would be no tenth inning, they put two runners into scoring position. That brought Chris Rickart, the Rule 5 pick aiming to make the team, to the plate as a pinch-hitter. Rickard’s RBI-single plated the winning run, and gave the Orioles their first unofficial walk-off victory of 2016.

Keep in mind that results aren’t important at this point – for the record however, next week is the final one in which we’ll be able to say that. But the bigger question is whether or not Wilson is being considered for the rotation. I suspect that a lot of that rides on the health of Kevin Gausman. We know that Gausman won’t be available until at least week two of the season – possibly later. Gonzalez of course has struggled this spring, however at this point I’d still be surprised if Miguel Gonzalez isn’t in the starting rotation once rosters are submitted. That said, if he tanks in his next start(s) this spring, that could change.

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I’ve said this before, but it’s worth reminding folks. Assuming that Gonzalez’s spot is semi-secure, Gausman might well be ready to go come week two. Either way, the Birds won’t need a fifth starter until then. So I wouldn’t be surprised to see Wilson make the roster as a bullpen pitcher, and see them use him as a starter if in fact Gausman can’t go. Now if Gonzalez plays his way out of a spot on the roster, Wilson might even make it as a starter out of the gate.

Next: Baltimore Orioles: Joey Rickard earning his way to the show

Showalter has said that he’s planning on addressing the starting rotation on Sunday. That gives him six final exhibition games to set the rotation, keeping in mind of course that the O’s will have two off days between the end of Grapefruit League play and the beginning of the regular season. So…”tick-tock!”