After the Yovani Gallardo signing, Orioles fans were convinced that the pitching rotation was set entering into the 2016 season. However, Buck Showalter was quick to point out earlier this month,
“There’s some competition here that I don’t think people understand,”
This sounded like lip service at the time to most Orioles fans. However, the competition appears to be in full force after yesterday’s 5-3 win by the Baltimore Orioles over the Boston Red Sox. Mike Wright started the game going 5.0 IP with 80 pitches yielding 4 hits, 2 Walks, 2 Strikeouts, and 1 Run (on a homerun) for the start. He was buoyed by Tyler Wilson who entered from the bullpen for 2.0 IP yielding only 2 hits with a strikeout.
Both Mike Wright and Tyler Wilson have had a nice Spring Training and have led the team respectively in innings pitched (20.2 and 14.1). In addition, they have posted a respectively K/9 and BB/9 this spring:
The numbers while nice wouldn’t be significant without the failures of Miguel Gonzalez to dismiss concerns from 2015. Gonzalez posted for the first time in his career an ERA above league average (4.91 ERA) in 2015. In the past, Gonzalez has limited the impact on his ERA by preventing runners from scoring once on base, a stat commonly referred to LOB%. There was a belief that the Gonzalez was suffering through injuries last season that caused a loss in performance. In reality, the luck for the soon to be 32 year old pitcher may have finally worn out.
Tyler Wilson and Mike Wright have seized the opportunity and done so together. These players have been at similar organization levels since 2012 and have grown together in the pitchers. This opportunity this spring could easily have fractured a relationship as the competition began, but neither appear to be bucking to this pressure. The two even drove down to the game together yesterday to potentially make their largest appearance of their careers yet. They were quoted by the Baltimore Sun as follows:
“We separate that part of our lives when it comes down to our relationship,” Wilson said. “He dealt today. He threw great. I was fired up to see him, and I gave him a big hug afterwards when I came in for the sixth. I’m sure he’d say the same exact thing.”
“We’re out here competing,” Wright said. “We’re friends. He’s doing well right now. I was in there watching him. He’s executing pitches just as good as I am, so that’s positive to see.”
Two guys looking out for each other. During the game, the two were so excited that there was contact involved:
Wilson knew he was following Wright. Said he was excited about how well Wright pitched- gave him a big hug when he came in
— Brittany Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) March 28, 2016
It’s guy love, don’t compromise,
The feeling of some other guy.
Holding up your heart into the sky.
The Orioles have seen this kind of love in the past. We’ve had examples of Markakis-Jones, Davis-McLouth, and of-course the current Batman and Robin of the clubhouse.
Each time these duos have combined together, they’ve made each other better. With Miguel Gonzalez faltering and Kevin Gausman on the DL, maybe it’s time the Orioles just rely on a little guy love at this time to get them through the next few weeks.