Working the (pitch) count

Is it just me or does it seem like every O's starter exits the first inning of his outings with a high pitch count?

David Hernandez needed 19 pitches while allowing a double and walk tonight in a shutout first frame.

But he regrouped to get three quick outs in the second on seven pitches and faced four batters, needing 18 pitches in the third.

Hernandez is at 44 pitches through three innings.

That's a good number. If you can go through each inning on the average of 15 or less you would be at 105 pitches through seven. That would allow you to get deep into the game, preserving bullpen innings.

Watch the pitch counts of O's starters early in the games. Keeping it reasonable in the early innings is often the key to getting deep into the game. More starter innings is a real key for the rotation for this year.

By the way, the O's executed well the strike 'em out, throw 'em out DP to end the third. Cesar Izturis took the throw from catcher Matt Wieters and quickly got Jose Bautista out in a short rundown that didn't even allow the runner on third to begin breaking down the line. Well done.

Update: Sometimes looks can be decieving. Hernandez fanned the first two hitters in the fourth. But then gave up a single and double. The Birds called for an intentional walk of Travis Snider to load them up and have Hernandez go after Jose Molina with the bases loaded.

By go "after him" they didn't mean hit him, but he did to force in a run as Toronto took a 1-0 lead.

After a Rick Kranitz mound visit, Hernandez got a flyout to end the threat. He threw 24 pitches that inning.

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