Albers on a roll

There's a headline you probably thought you would not see this season.

Don't look now but the pitcher some O's fans seem to be most critical of, has put together a real good stretch of pitching.

Matt Albers has pitched to an ERA of 1.93 in 10 games this month with a batting average against of .185 in 18 2/3 innings in July.

"I think, just being able to throw my curveball and slider early in the count for strikes has helped a lot. I usually throw a lot of fastballs and some guys were sitting on it and I was getting beat with that. Also, you just get on a roll and feel more comfortable out there. Not trying to do too much, just let my stuff take over," Albers said.

Albers is 3-3, 4.30 in 42 games on the year and that ERA is the lowest it has been since April 12.

Albers' season ended early in 2008 due to a torn labrum. He opted to rehab it and not have surgery and he returned to pitch last season.

He says his right shoulder has felt healthy and strong for a while now.

"I felt that in the beginning of the season. Coming into spring training my arm felt strong. That's been nice.

"Maybe a little," he said when asked if his shoulder feels better now than it did last year. "That's the first real injury I had, so it's always in the back of your head. You think, if I throw a pitch am I going to feel it. You get to the point in the season where I got hurt two years ago, are you able to make it past that. Once I got through last season, I knew I would be fine this year and came in with more peace of mind."

Albers feels he is throwing the ball now about as well as he did in 2008, when he went 3-3, 3.49 for the Orioles before coming up with the shoulder injury in late June that ended his season.

For now, he's become a reliable reliever that the team can count on. Don't think too many fans would have figured that could happen this year.

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