As a friend said yesterday afternoon, a day after Zach Britton and the Orioles beat Minnesota 4-1: "So that's what it looks like to get a well-pitched game."
Now, O's fans can say that again this morning.
The Orioles beat Minnesota 8-1 last night as Alfredo Simon allowed just three hits and one run in a career-high eight innings with a career-high eight strikeouts.
This after Simon pitched to an ERA of 7.47 over his previous three starts. Of course, he had pitched to an ERA of 2.81 over the four starts before that.
It's amazing how good a team can look when it gets solid starting pitching. In losing all three games of the series in Los Angeles, the Orioles' starters pitched to an ERA of 9.39. Their ERA is 1.38 in winning the past two nights.
The Orioles were outscored 13-4 in the first three innings at Los Angeles, but have outscored the Twins 8-2 in the first three frames in this series.
Here is a stat for you: The Orioles have now allowed one run or less in back-to-back games for the first time since they did it in the season's first four games. Then, they gave up one run in each game during a 4-0 start.
I still hold out hope for this pitching staff and its future. To me, Brian Matusz, Zach Britton and Jake Arrieta are going to be good. They have been in the past and will be again - and I mean good as a group to help lead this pitching staff.
Going into next year, though, the Orioles need to have much more starting pitching depth than they went into this year with. Whether that means Simon to the rotation, Jim Johnson, Tommy Hunter, Chris Tillman or others from the minors, or other pitchers they sign as free agents, they need more starting pitching, that point was hammered home this year.
If, heaven forbid, they have too many ready to pitch for too few spots, the bullpen awaits for the rest.
The last two nights reminds us that some of this young Orioles pitching still has talent. The quickest way out of this mess of a season and back to some respectability is with solid starting pitching.
What do you think about the club's pitching right now? Will the young starters be solid next year? Do you hold out hope for the future of the Orioles pitching staff?