Blame Yunel Escobar.
If he didn’t hit a liner off Brian Matusz’s left triceps Tuesday night, the Orioles might have a streak of nine straight quality starts right now.
We don’t know how well Matusz would have done had he stayed in that game, but he’s been pitching well, so I’d like his chances to get it done.
O’s starting pitching has gone from good to great.
Here are the latest numbers:
*ERA of 0.56 in the Toronto series.
*ERA of 0.61 over last five games.
*Starters are 5-0, 1.66 the last nine games.
*An ERA of 2.93 with 28 quality starts in the 41 games since Buck Showalter became manager.
The only run O’s starters gave up vs. the Blue Jays was on a longball by Major League homer leader Jose Bautista last night.
Brad Bergesen went on to throw a 95-pitch, seven-hitter for third career complete game.
Bergesen has an ERA of 2.39 over his last nine starts.
That stretch began not long after Bergesen started throwing a higher percentage of four-seam fastballs. His two seamer has the heavy sink, the four seamer has more velocity.
“The two seamer, especially early on, it was tough for me to find it like I had it last year. I really struggled with that and have had to rely more on my four seamer to get ahead of guys to throw strikes with,” Bergesen said.
“The four seamer is going to give you a little more velocity. It’s going to flatten out a bit and the two seamer will be a little slower, but have the better movement.
“Four seamer is the one you really have to keep down in the zone. Bautista is a perfect example if you get up, it goes a long way.”
Showalter said some hitters have seemed surprised by Bergesen’s increased velocity. No doubt the expanded use of the four seam fastball has been one key to Bergesen’s great nine-start roll.
But you won’t get Bergesen to brag on his own pitching right now.
“It is such a funny game, you never want to get comfortable or say you are in a groove. You just focus on your next start and go from there. I really try to stay away from getting that feeling.”
The defense behind Bergesen was spectacular last night.
Pitching and defense. Once a staple of Orioles’ success, it has made a return as we near the close of the 2010 season and the Orioles are now 26-15 under Buck.