Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Starting Rotation

The Baltimore Sun currently has an "O's Opening Day Rotation" poll up on its website asking readers to select each of the five starters who should break camp with the club. The results are fascinating (all figures below as of time of writing).

1. Jeremy Guthrie receives 1486 of 1522 (97.6%) of the possible votes
2. Koji Uehara receives 1391 of 1522 (91.4%) of the possible votes
3. Rich Hill receives 685 of 1514 (45.2%) of the possible votes

And now it gets interesting:
For the fourth slot, Matt Albers -- No longer in consideration for rotation (that's how he's actually listed!) received 130 of 1513 votes (8.6%), Danys Baez 209 (13.8%), Brad Bergenson 222, (14.7%), Adam Eaton 270 (17.8%), Mark Hendrickson 133 (8.8%), Rich Hill 244 (16.1%), Radhames Liz 161 (10.6%), and Other 118 (7.8%). The results are very similar for the fifth slot, with Bergensen picking up a bit more support, Hill less, and Other lots more. With seven named choices, plus Other, which could presumably include Hayden Penn and David Pauley (yes, the David Pauley "who probably will be in the starting rotation if he can get through the next three weeks without getting hit by a meteor," which might actually happen considering how he's been pitching), for three rotation slots, it's difficult to pinpoint anyone other than Rich Hill that would be supported by Orioles fans. And Rich Hill has been injured this spring after being demoted to the minors in 2008! It could be a very long season for Orioles fans fond of good pitching.

Also of note: Jeremy Guthrie received a total of 1528 votes, meaning some people likely voted for him for multiple rotation slots. I'm inclined to agree.

Prediction: The Opening Day rotation will be Guthrie, Uehara, Penn, Pauley and Bergeson. We know Guthrie and Uehara are in there, and Penn and Pauley are strong candidates by virtue of being out of options. Bergeson has pitched well thus far and I like the fact that he throws lots of strikes.

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