When it rains it seems to pour on the Baltimore Orioles because just as soon as it appeared as if the starting rotation would continue hold up, without Jason Hammel and Chris Tillman, Zach Britton is starting to provide cause for concern.
Britton was dominate in four straight starts before his September 9 outing against the New York Yankees, where he was removed after just 3.2 innings of work after giving up five runs in that short start. More recently, as in his last start against the Oakland Athletics, he was beaten for five runs again and was gone by the fourth inning with his pitch count sitting at 86.
The odd thing is that he didn’t allow a hit until the third inning where he gave up those five runs. The Athletics ended up sending 10 batters to the plate in that brutal third inning and for some reason Britton just couldn’t put anyone away at that point.
“The ball was running all over the place on me that inning,” Britton said. “I didn’t make any adjustment. I couldn’t make a pitch to get out of that inning.”
Over his last two starts Britton has given up 10 runs and nine hits over just 7.1 innings of work – it should also be mentioned that he can’t locate his sinker right now and has issued nine free passes over his last two starts as a result.
In the four starts prior to that September 9th game against the Yankees Britton was the dominant left-hander that we all knew he could be, allowing just three runs over 28.2 innings. His record in those four starts was 4-0 with an ERA of 0.95 while allowing just 21 hits and striking out 29.
It’s possible that Britton could get on another roll like that and help fans and the organization forget his most recent struggles, but if he’s not able to locate his sinker then I wouldn’t hold my breath.
Regardless, the Orioles don’t need any more bad news or poor results out of their rotation while trying to win their division.