As the rotation turns

I didn't need to leave my house last night to watch fireworks. Thanks to MASN, they were set off in my living room.

My blinds are still scorched and my ceiling fan ... well ... I wouldn't pull the chain.

Sometimes, I think the Orioles are pulling my chain. I wish they'd stop.

The Rangers lit up Orioles pitching for 13 runs last night, making them the latest team to torch the rotation. Chris Jakubauskas surrendered six of them and didn't record an out in the third inning.

Orioles starters have completed seven innings only once in the last 20 games since June 12. Getting into and through the fifth is an enormous challenge.

Alfredo Simon replaced Jakubauskas last night and was charged with five earned runs (six total) and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings.

The back end of the bullpen is in good hands. Even Michael Gonzalez has been contributing. He quietly posted a 1.64 ERA in June, though he allowed 10 hits and walked seven in 11 innings.

Gonzalez had a 9.82 ERA in April, and opponents batted .310 against him. He had a 6.30 ERA in May, with teams batting .333. They hit .244 against him last month.

Too bad the Orioles can't pass leads to these guys.

I wonder if Gonzalez should be added to the list of trade chips. A contender might be looking for left-handed relief.

Getting back to the rotation, guys like Jakubauskas, Mitch Atkins, Ryan Drese and Mike Ballard were signed over the winter to provide depth and keep the Orioles from rushing their younger arms. Drese was granted his release. Ballard is pitching at Double-A Bowie. Atkins and Jakubauskas are in the majors.

Well, Atkins will officially be in the majors once the Orioles purchase his contract, which is expected to happen later today.

I'd feel a lot better about the future of the club if the rotation consisted of Jeremy Guthrie, Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta, Zach Britton and Chris Tillman. I'm fine with Brad Bergesen working in a long relief role and being a spot starter. I'm fine with Jason Berken being a long and middle reliever.

Maybe I'll be fine with Atkins in the rotation. He's only 25. Give him a shot. He's just not one of the "grown" arms.

At this rate, it might be time to buy the bats and a different mulch.

With left-hander Matt Harrison starting tonight for the Rangers, it's likely that Nolan Reimold will make back-to-back starts.

Harrison held the Orioles to one run and two hits back on April 9 in a 13-1 victory at Camden Yards. He's 3-0 with a 5.21 ERA lifetime against them.

Adam Jones is 2-for-6 with a home run lifetime against Harrison. Nick Markakis is 1-for-9.

Harrison allowed one earned run in three straight starts last month before permitting five over six innings in his last outing in Houston.

The Orioles would consider it a quality start.

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