For the Orioles, it has been nearly two months since their pitchers recorded three straight quality starts. Yes, it has been that long. They can make it three in a row tonight when Miguel Gonzalez pitches at Cleveland.
From May 25 to May 27 against Kansas City, the Orioles posted three in a row. Jason Hammel pitched six scoreless innings, then Wei-Yin Chen gave up two earned runs over six and Brian Matusz allowed three earned runs in six innings against the Royals.
The Orioles season high is five straight quality starts (defined as six innings or more, allowing three or fewer earned runs) from April 28 to May 2.
On the year, the Orioles have recorded 40 quality starts, which ranks 12th in the AL ahead of only Minnesota (33) and Kansas City (31).
AL leaders in team quality starts:
54 - Los Angeles
53 - Chicago, Oakland
50 - Detroit
The Orioles are 35-5 this year, for a win percentage of .875, when they get such an outing from their starting pitcher. The O’s starting pitcher ERA for the season of 4.73 also ranks 12th in the league, again ahead of only Minnesota and K.C.
Tommy Hunter and Chen combined to give up just four earned runs over 14 1/3 innings the last two games at Minnesota. One key was throwing strikes, as they combined to walk just one batter.
Just twice this year have O’s starters pitched seven innings or more in three straight games, and they could match that tonight.
In the season-opening series against Minnesota, Jake Arrieta went seven, then Hunter went seven and Hammel pitched eight innings. From June 16-18, Hammel went nine at Atlanta, Chen went seven at Atlanta and Arrieta went seven in New York against the Mets.
Get deep into the game and give your team a quality start. It has been easy to say but hard to do for the 2012 Orioles. When they can do it, the record shows they are a very good team.