New manager Buck Showalter considering a six-man rotation for Orioles in September

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Buck Showalter isn’t wasting any time making changes in Baltimore, saying earlier this week that Alfredo Simon is far from guaranteed to remain the Orioles’ closer and indicating last night that the team may use a six-man starting rotation in September.

It’s something that we have kicked around a little bit depending on what the needs of the guys are. I don’t think we’re at that point. We’ll try to let them finish off the year and when we get to September, we’ll see what’s best for everybody.

Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun notes that going to a six-man rotation would give Showalter an opportunity to evaluate one extra young pitcher, such as Chris Tillman, Zach Britton, or Rick VandenHurk, while also limiting the workload of current rookie starters Brian Matusz and Jake Arrieta.
Zrebiec adds that the extra rest from a six-man rotation “would likely be viewed unfavorably by veterans Kevin Millwood and Jeremy Guthrie, who want to pitch every five days and finish out the season strong.” Of course, Millwood is a 35-year-old impending free agent with a 5.74 ERA and 2-12 record, so I’m not sure why the Orioles are even sticking with him at this point, let alone actually caring what he’d view “unfavorably.”

2017 Preview: The National League West

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League West.

The Giants had the best record in all of baseball at the All-Star Break and the Dodgers lost the best pitcher in the world in Clayton Kershaw for a big chunk of the season. Yet, somehow, L.A. won the NL West by four games. The biggest culprit was the Giants’ suspect bullpen, which they put some real money toward fixing this winter. Is it enough? Or is a a Dodgers team with a healthy Kershaw just too talented for San Francisco to handle?

Below them is an intriguing Rockies team, though probably not a truly good Rockies team. The Dbacks have a lot of assorted talent but are nonetheless in reshuffle mode following a miserable 2016 campaign. The Padres, meanwhile, are in full-fledged rebuilding mode, but do possess some of the best minor league talent in the game.

Here are our previews of the 2017 NL West:

Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks
San Diego Padres

2017 Preview: The American League West

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League West

There’s not a lot of separation between the top three teams in this division. Indeed, it would not be a surprise for either the Astros, Rangers or Mariners to end the year on top. Part of that is because none of these contenders are perfect, with all three facing some big challenges in putting together a strong rotation.

Meanwhile, the best baseball player in the universe toils in Anaheim, where he’ll most likely have to content himself to playing spoiler. Up the coast in Oakland . . . um, green is pretty?

Our 2017 AL West Previews:

Houston Astros
Seattle Mariners
Texas Rangers
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Oakland Athletics