Peter Schmuck ranks the Orioles' fifth starter candidates
If the season were to begin right now, the first three slots in the Orioles starting rotation would be easy to ascertain. Jason Hammel, Wei-Yin Chen and Miguel Gonzalez came to camp as the top three starters based on last year's performance and have done nothing this spring to change the pecking order. Chris Tillman has had his innings limited by an injury, but he's still the No. 4 guy unless he suffers another preseason setback. That still leaves a big crowd to compete for the final slot in the rotation, but the competition is beginning to shake out.
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1. Jake Arrieta
Last year's Opening Day starter is being given every opportunity to show that he has smoothed over the rough spots after a season in which he struggled to a 3-9 record and 6.20 ERA at the major league level. He is putting up terrific numbers again this spring (1-0, 1.56 ERA, four starts) and looked great in a six-inning, nine-strikeout performance Thursday night, but still needs to tighten up his pitch count if he is to re-emerge as a dependable member of the starting rotation. Looks like Buck Showalter wants that to happen, but it's still up to Jake to prove he's made real progress.