Baltimore Orioles: Do starters have too short a leash?

The Baltimore Orioles sent Bruce Zimmermann to the mound this evening against Minnesota. Despite being removed after five innings, I personally thought that he pitched a solid outing. Zimmermann’s line: 5.0 IP. 4 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 4 K.

Zimmermannn was scoreless through three innings, and gave up an RBI-single to Miranda in the fourth. (Miranda’s first big league hit – for what that’s worth.) However Zimmermann would pitch out of the inning, and remain unscathed save for that.

Tyler Nevin reached on an error in the fourth, allowing the first Oriole run of the night to score. However Minnesota would strike back in the fifth with an RBI-single. Mancini would tie the game later in the inning with an RBI-single of his own.

After Zimmerman had departed, Minnesota did some real damage. Polanco’s three-run homer in the top of the sixth gave Minnesota a 5-2 lead. This off of Joey Kreyhbiel. Kreyhbiel has been strong, just not on this night. Minnesota would add an additional two runs in the ninth, which rounded out the scoring.

As I said, Zimmermann was pitching well. So if you’re Brandon Hyde, why pull him out. To be fair, in many cases pitchers aren’t pitching well enough to justify leaving them in early on. But that’s not always the case, including tonight.

Granted, the Orioles’ rotation seems to be in a constant state of flux given injuries. But when a guy’s sent out as a starting pitcher, the goal should be to pitch between 7-9 innings. Because what happens is eventually an otherwise strong bullpen will show cracks. And then people start to talk about the ‘pen being inconsistent.

This isn’t to say that Hyde doesn’t know what he’s doing. He wouldn’t be a manager if he didn’t. But the last thing he wants is for a reliever’s arm to fall off.

The series continues tomorrow night with Minnesota at Camden Yards. Kyle Bradish gets the call for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by former Oriole Dylan Bundy. GMe time is just after 7 PM.

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