Britton stays on a roll

Left-hander Zach Britton gave the Orioles three more scoreless innings today, raising his total to 11 1/3 this season and creating more discussion over whether he should be starting.

Manager Buck Showalter likes Britton in his current role. He’s become quite a weapon out of the bullpen.

“The first weapon is he can get right-handed and left-handed hitters out. That’s huge for a reliever,” Showalter said. “He’s in a good place right now and you can see it. Presentation-wise as much as physically.”

Britton threw 42 pitches in his longest outing of the season.

“He had had three days off and we’ve got an off-day tomorrow,” Showalter explained. “He had been at 30-plus (pitches) his last time out, so we felt comfortable taking him into the 40s if we had to. We were a pinch-hitter move away in the eighth of taking him out, but they decided to stay with (Matt) Joyce there.

“We had other people who could pitch. Just the situation it puts you in a nice little rocking chair sometimes when you got a left-handed pitcher who can defend himself against right-handed pitchers. And that comes from his starting background some, too. He’s got a pretty good sinker.”

Britton said he wasn’t told that he could work three innings today. The situation just unfolded in front of him.

“I looked at the lineup after the second inning and I noticed the two lefties, so I was prepared to do it,” he said. “Dave (Wallace) told me I was going to go back out there, so just be prepared for all three hitters. You can’t be like, ‘Well, I’ve got Joyce and someone else is coming in to clean it up.’ I was just prepared to do it if need be.

“I think the multiple innings for me is more natural that the short bursts. I think just being able to do anything out of the bullpen I think really helps the team. There are still some adjustments I need to make, command every now and then. I had that walk that almost turned into a jam, so there are still some things I need to fine tune out of the bullpen, but so far so good.”

Starting experience must help on a day such as this one.

“I’ve done it for so long, but I think it’s the recovery time if anything,” he said. “It’s not necessarily being out there today and throwing three innings. It’s how am I going to feel tomorrow? How am I going to feel the next day? That’s what it’s about. But the ups and downs, I’m so used to that now that after starting my whole life, that’s not much of an issue.”

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