When looking at how the Orioles are playing these days, it is hard to imagine that they were doing so well a year ago after Buck Showalter took over. They went 34-23 in the last 57 games under Buck last year.
What's the difference? Easy, pitching.
Orioles' starting pitchers worked to an ERA of 3.16 with 36 quality starts in those final 57 games of 2010.
Contrast that with the mess the rotation has become now. Over the last 20 games, O's starters have just four quality starts and an ERA of 6.88.
Here is a more glaring stat that points to the pitching. In the four games in that stretch where the Orioles got a quality start, they are 4-0. In the other 16 games where they didn't, they are 1-15. In the one game they won, Tommy Hunter gave up four earned runs over 6 2/3, so that was almost a quality start.
In losing the last three games, Orioles' starters in Brian Matusz, Alfredo Simon and Jo-Jo Reyes have given up 16 earned runs over 17 innings for a 8.47 ERA.
Orioles' pitching ERAs this year:
6.06 - 1st inning
5.68 - 2nd inning
5.31 - 3rd inning
The Orioles keep falling behind seemingly every night now. Monday, they trailed 2-1 after the third inning at Oakland and that score was 4-1 and 5-2 on Tuesday and Wednesday after three frames. Last night, they were behind 5-2 after three against the Angels.
Maybe Hunter can change that trend tonight. The last two times he has started, the Orioles won the game when he gave up four earned runs in 6 2/3, and then, two earned in 6 2/3.
This rotation is badly in need of a good outing, yet again and maybe he will provide one tonight.