Monday, March 17, 2008

Trachsel Opening Day Starter?

I'd heard some rumors about Steve Trachsel being named the Opening Day starting pitcher, but I didn't think much of them because they seemed too far-fetched.

After all, Jeremy Guthrie came out of nowhere last year and pitched to the tune of a 7-5 record and a 3.70 ERA in 175 innings. Plus, with Erik Bedard traded to the Mariners, Guthrie is now the O's "ace", though in name only.

In short, Guthrie should be a shoe-in for the Opening Day starter.

But this morning, The Sun's Roch Kubatko fanned the flames of those rumors when he mentioned in his blog, "Roch Around the Clock", that there is a feeling in the Orioles organization that Trachsel should be the Opening Day starter.

I don't know why I am so violently opposed to this, but I am. After all, Opening Day is just one game. If Trachsel goes out there and gets shelled, like I fully expect him to, there are still 161 other games for the O's to win.

But I am taking off work, and driving all the way down to Baltimore from Frederick to see the game, and I'll be damned if I am going to sit there and watch Steve-effing-Trachsel get bombed by the Tampa Bay Rays on the one day that I can feel good about being an Oriole fan.

Trachsel may have pitched better than I expected last year, but he was also very lucky to have an ERA below 5.00 with a 45/69 strikeout-to-walk ratio. So excuse me if I don't have faith that he will repeat that lucky performance in 2008.

Matter of fact, if Trachsel's K/BB ratio becomes more lopsided, as it has over the last few years of his career, Trachsel will probably have an ERA hovering around 6.00 and be out of the rotation by June.

Oh and by the way, Trachsel has a 6.92 ERA in 13 IP so far this spring. If he were competing for a spot in the rotation, instead of being handed one, he'd be dead last.

Meanwhile, Guthrie has a 3.00 ERA, has struck out 9 batters in 9 IP and has walked only 2.

In short, starting Trachsel on Opening Day is like waking up on your birthday and stepping on a thumbtack. You'll get over it, but it's no way to start the day you look forward to all year. Plus he is 0-3 versus the Rays, with a 5.93 ERA.

It also signals that the Orioles still put too much stock in "veteranosity" when they should be letting the younger guys get their crack at the big time. They are the future, after all. And 2008 is going to be all about the future.

But more importantly, Guthrie deserves it. Just let the guy pitch on Opening Day for crying out loud.

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