The Orioles' starting pitching takes a turn for the better

As the Orioles get ready to add Joe Saunders to their rotation, the good news is that the rotation is pitching pretty well right now. Unlike many times this year, there is no clear-cut candidate currently not pitching well to be replaced in the rotation.

In fact, since Aug. 4, the Orioles have played 21 games and gotten 13 quality starts (six innings or more, allowing three earned runs or less) in that time. They are 12-1 in those 13 games.

One stat that has held firm most of this year is that when the Orioles get a quality start from their pitcher, they win a very high percentage of the time.

They have gotten 59 quality starts this year. That is not a lot, and in fact ranks only 12th best in the American League. But the Orioles are 51-8 in those games for a win percentage of .864.

Over those last 21 games, the O's have gotten a quality start 62 percent of the time, with 13. Before this stretch, they were getting a quality start just 43 percent of the time.

This stat bodes well, since it is trending upward for the Orioles at the most critical time of the year and even before Saunders joins the rotation.

Over the last three games, Zach Britton, Steve Johnson and Wei-Yin Chen have pitched a combined 18 2/3 innings, allowing 12 hits and five earned runs with five walks and 21 strikeouts.

The starters' ERA in those games was 2.41, and yes, the Orioles won all three.

It's been a formula for success all year for this club - get a quality start. Now they are coming at a higher rate for the Orioles, and that is a great sign for the team with 35 games to go.

By the way, I'll end this entry with this stat: The Orioles are 9-3 in their last 12 games against the White Sox and Yankees. They play their next six games against those first-place clubs.

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