How would you like to be cruising along in the minor leagues and get called on for a spot start to fill-in for the staff ace? That is precisely what happened to Zach Britton who was called-up by the Baltimore Orioles to take the place of Jason Hammel who is still battling a stomach virus. That might be great news in almost every circumstance. Not sure how great it feels to know you are called up for a spot start to face the Detroit Tigers with Justin Verlander opposing you on the other side.
For his career Britton has a 4.85 ERA and a WHIP of 2.00. Those numbers do not bode well for a start against an offense with the potential firepower such as the Tigers have. There might be more to the Orioles choosing Britton than a random raffle however. Britton has limited Major League Baseball experience with a handful of starts in 2012 and 2011. Over that time his ERA is about exactly what you see listed above. So why would they pick him?
Maybe because he has two career starts against the Tigers and he has won both of them. In 2011 he faced them and gave up five runs in five innings but got the win anyway. Last season he fared much better. He went seven shutout innings against the big bad Tigers, once again getting the win. Could it be that Britton has the Tigers number? Oh sure, it happens all the time. I guess we’ll see if his 2013 Tigers start more resembles that of his 2011 or 2012 performance.