Rookie Zach Britton offered the following assessment of tonight's outing, when he allowed four runs and five hits in five innings while failing to win his 10th game of the season:
"I think I was just overthrowing today," he said. "The first couple innings weren't bad. They were OK. But right when I got out of the stretch, I started overthrowing, leaving balls up, out over the plate. That's a team I had success against, so I know if I just keep the ball down, it's going to be a good game, I can keep them at bay and let us score some runs.
"I left some balls up in situations where I put guys on and made a lot more stress for myself. I didn't execute a lot of 2-0 counts. And it's a lot easier to hit when you're comfortable and you're ahead."
Britton's pitch count soared early and led to his exit after five innings.
"There should be a way you can turn it around," he said. "I know when I'm going well, I'm not going to throw a million strikes. That's just the way I am. But if I'm able to consistently get ahead of guys, it's going to help. No one wants to throw a lot of pitches early in the game, but if I just go out there and be efficient the rest of the way through, it shouldn't matter."
Britton has posted almost identical lines his last two starts - five innings, five hits, four runs, two strikeouts. He walked two batters in his last outing, compared to four tonight.
"Real frustrating, because I feel like I have kind of got over that hump and it's just now about throwing strikes and not putting myself in tough situations by walking people. So if you eliminate those, I'm fine," he said. "It's just when I'm not there, I've got to be able to make pitches, get ahead of guys and not walk batters, and I think I'll be fine. I showed that the first couple outings - not the very first one but the two after that - that if I am efficient, getting ahead, for the most part I'm going to do very well."