Britton deals with some struggles and defensive issues as he takes his second loss

These are unusual times for O’s pitching prospect Zach Britton.

Last year, on his way to becoming the Carolina League Pitcher of the Year, Britton’s ERA never even went above 3.00 once.

Today, he took the loss for Bowie, 4-3 vs. Erie and is now 1-2, 4.32.

His ERA was 2.61 over his first two starts, but is now 5.52 over the last three outings.

O’s prospect Zach Britton talks with the O’s Xtra crew about his development

Today was a mixed bag for the 22-year-old lefty. He gave up four runs, but just one earned, in 5 1/3. Erie scored three in the fifth inning off him, but the runs came in after he walked two batters ahead of Pedro Florimon’s two-out error at short.

Infield defense has been an issue at times at Bowie this year and that was Florimon’s 8th error already.

“I feel like I’m doing everything I need to do to win. I’m getting a ton of groundballs, but I don’t think I’ve given up this many singles in my life. I feel like we are not getting to some balls we should get to,” Britton said outside the Bowie clubhouse after today’s game that began at 11 a.m.

“I know the guys are trying and I’m not calling anyone out, but I feel we need to play better fundamentally. Me and Chorye (Spoone) are groundball pitchers. The last couple of outings, we are making our pitches, but not getting outs.

“I know Florimon is a good infielder, I know Adams is. Everyone is working real hard, but it gets frustrating at times.”

Britton is not unhappy with the way he has pitched in those recent starts.

“I am not going to say I’m throwing my best, but I’m getting the ground balls I need to. The changeup, I am throwing that a lot more than last year and getting into some tight situations, because I’m missing with it.

“But you sacrifice the short-term success for the long-term gain. That is to be able to throw that in Baltimore and get people out. I feel like I’m throwing the ball better than the stats are showing and it will come around and even out eventually.”

Bowie manager Brad Komminsk echoed Britton’s comments.

“Our defense has been poor. If you can’t catch the ball, you are not going to win many games. At the same time, once we make that mistake we have to be able as a pitching staff to shut them down.

“Florimon has been working with everybody. It’s not like he’s not trying.

“(Britton) He threw well, outside of that one inning where we didn’t catch the ball for him. Hopefully he’s back on track.”

In 25 innings on the year, Britton has given up 30 hits with eight walks and 19 strikeouts. Eastern League hitters are batting .278 against him

Last year he gave up four runs or more in six starts with Frederick. Now he has allowed four or more in his last three starts.

Today, he did not start the game, but came on in the second inning after Koji Uehara’s 13-pitch first.

“I was surprised. I wasn’t as out of synch as I thought I might be. Koji had a pretty quick first inning and it really felt just like I was starting the game. This was a good day to see that I can improve off of this. Things are going in the right direction,” Britton said.

Watch O’s Xtra tonight: Britton will be live on O’s Xtra tonight with Jim and Rick. He will be on set for an interview here at Camden Yards after his outing today at Bowie.

Coming tomorrow: Britton talks about the pressure of being a top prospect and also an update on Paco Figueroa’s recent hot hitting.

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