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All signs point to Dylan Bundy being Orioles' Opening Day starting pitcher

SARASOTA, FLA. — Orioles manager Buck Showalter on Saturday dismissed the notion that the current order of his exhibition starting rotation could be used to speculate on who might be the Opening Day starter.

“Our schedule is built to move it around,” Showalter said during a pregame media session. “We’ve got about another … I think it’s nine days, to [set up the rotation].”

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Now it’s time to try and read between the lines, which should make it easy to conclude that right-hander Dylan Bundy will be the man if nothing happens to prevent him from facing the Minnesota Twins on March 29 at CamdenYards.

Without even stepping foot on the mound in a game, new Orioles starter Andrew Cashner has made his influence on the team's 2018 fortunes evident. Cashner makes his Grapefruit League debut for the club Sunday.

“If you asked me today, I know exactly who it is, but let’s wait and see how it transpires,” Showalter said. “We look at a lot of things. We look at the first months and especially the first two weeks of the season, because there’s not many chances once the season starts that you get a chance to match up some things with history.”

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Showalter looks at each pitcher’s overall past performance as well as home and road splits against the club’s early opponents. He also has to decide who is best suited to face the defending world champion Houston Astros in the fourth game of the season amid the hoopla of their home opener.

“All those things come into play,” he said. “You need to think through those things. I think us doing that as an organization has allowed us to get off to good starts, trying to get every advantage we can to start the season.”

In an effort to provide the best and most complete baseball coverage possible, there's been an increase in the use of analytics and advanced metrics on these pages in recent years. Here's a rundown of some of the most frequently used ones to reference as the season goes on.

Bundy, 25, checks the traditional boxes. He’s was the team’s winningest and most consistent pitcher last season, which are generally the metrics used to determine who gets the honor of being the first pitcher to take the mound at the start of a new season.

He also pitched well against the Twins last May in his only home start against them, though he struggled in a five-inning July start at Target Field.

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“It’s all of the above,” Showalter said. “You start out with, the guy that pitches first has a chance to get the most starts over the course of the season. You want to get that guy on the bump as many times as possible, but I’d like to think that all our guys are guys we’ll look forward to starting.”

Last year, by any measure, the Opening Day starter should have been right-hander Chris Tillman, but his shoulder situation made him unavailable and right-hander Kevin Gausman got the assignment.

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