Orioles pitchers taking too many walks on the wild side (Britton in Oakland)

Zach Britton is still listed as tonight’s starter for Triple-A Norfolk. If he isn’t a late scratch, he won’t be starting for the Orioles on Monday.

Update: Zach Clark (UMBC) is now listed as Norfolk’s starter tonight instead of Britton. Feel free to speculate. The assumption here is that Britton will be in the Orioles’ bullpen the next few nights and will start Monday if he isn’t used in relief for an extended stretch.

Update II: Britton is definitely in Oakland and he will take Josh Stinson’s spot on the 25-man roster.

The Orioles need someone to take Stinson’s turn on Monday after the right-hander was optioned to Norfolk yesterday following a 6-5, 11-inning loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.

Freddy Garcia can opt out of his contract after five starts with Norfolk. He’s currently 3-0 with a 2.81 ERA in four starts, with only two walks and 16 strikeouts in 25 2/3 innings.

Garcia’s ability to throw strikes thus far must bring a certain appeal, since Orioles starters lead the majors with 55 walks this season. The Boston Red Sox have the next-highest total with 53.

Overall, the Orioles’ pitching staff is tied with the Blue Jays for fourth in the American League with 76 walks. The Los Angeles Angels (82), Houston Astros (81) and Red Sox (80) have issued more free passes.

“I see them, too,” said manager Buck Showalter. “I know it’s something we’ve got to get better at. If you look at the guys, it hasn’t been their track record, so I’m hoping it will get back to that. Especially with Miguel (Gonzalez).”

Gonzalez has walked 12 and struck out 13 in 24 innings. Chris Tillman has walked 11 and struck out 18 in 20 2/3 innings. Wei-Yin Chen has walked seven and struck out 11 in 24 innings.

Jake Arrieta walked 16 and struck out 20 in 19 innings before the Orioles optioned him to Norfolk.

Tonight’s starter, Jason Hammel, has walked eight and struck out 14 in 24 2/3 innings.

“Jake’s had some challenges with it from the get-go. But I don’t think anybody carries that good of stuff for that to not be a problem,” Showalter said. “More than anything, it gets your pitch count up so much that you put yourself in jeopardy health-wise.”

Britton has walked seven and struck out five in 13 2/3 innings, but he’s 1-0 with a 1.98 ERA in three starts.

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