Who should start a one-game playoff for the Orioles?

The Baltimore Sun

One of the great pleasures of baseball is arguing about what should happen, what moves need to be made -- as if we all can see into the future and know more than the field personnel.

After Wei-Yin Chen turned in another sub-par, late-season outing, the three Sun baseball writers in the press box Monday night discussed who we would give the ball to start a one-game playoff.

It’s an interesting debate. And it’s germane too, since the Orioles very well could find themselves in that situation in a wild-card playoff next week.

The obvious answer for all of us is a healthy Jason Hammel, but that’s still an unknown right now. So we discounted Hammel and picked from what’s remaining.

Here are our thoughts:

Ed Encina: “Wouldn’t have picked it earlier this year but in a do-or-die game, I give the ball to right-hander Chris Tillman. Over the past six weeks, he’s answered his skeptics, showing he can go deep into games and give the Orioles quality starts any time he is on the mound.”

Peter Schmuck: “All things being equal in terms of rest, preparation and health, Miguel Gonzalez has shown that steely toughness that you want in an absolute must-win game. He’s got the best chance of keeping his head when everybody else is losing theirs.” 

Dan Connolly: “I initially said Joe Saunders, because he has pitched in the postseason and had thrown fairly well recently. But I looked up the numbers and in four postseason games, Saunders has just one quality start and a combined 6.00 ERA in those outings. With Hammel out, Tillman is their best starting pitcher right now.”

What do you say?

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