Don't look now, but the Orioles' pitching has taken a turn for the better. This stat may have snuck up quietly on us, but over the 13 games since Aug. 3, the O's team ERA is 2.58.
They just gave up 10 runs to Boston in a three-game series and six of those came last night. The Sox are third in the AL in runs and average 4.9 per game.
The 13-game run, during which the Orioles are 9-4, has lowered their team ERA on the year from 4.25 to 4.06. That now ranks eighth in the AL. A similar improvement over the next two weeks, and the Orioles could move into the top fifth or sixth in the AL in team ERA.
During that run, the starters' ERA is 3.46 and the bullpen ERA is 1.02, a figure which was 0.45 over 12 games before three earned runs allowed last night.
In the nine wins during this 13-game stretch, the Orioles have given up a total of 17 runs.
This is all a good sign for a club trying to hang in the playoff race to the end and a team that currently has some of its young pitching prospects back at Triple-A and one of its best starters, Jason Hammel, on the DL.
The Orioles' batters will face a real test over the next three days in Detroit, taking on Justin Verlander (12-7, 2.46 ERA), Rick Porcello (9-7, 4.68 ERA) and Doug Fister (7-7, 3.24 ERA). The Tigers have the third-best starting pitchers' ERA in the AL since the All-Star break.
But as Buck Showalter likes to say, to beat good pitching like that, your best chance is for your pitcher to match the other guy and keep your team in the game.
It seems the Orioles have been patching their rotation together every day this season. Recently, some things have been coming together pretty well for the staff as a whole.
Now we'll see if they can keep it going during a very tough and critical road trip to Detroit and Texas that begins tonight.