Orioles starters are getting better, now they need to start getting deeper

Orioles starting pitchers have allowed three earned runs or fewer for the last seven games. In that time, the Orioles' rotation ERA is 3.63.

This is pretty solid. If you don't think so, consider that the Orioles had the best record in the majors the last two months of last season going 38-20 and the rotation ERA then was 3.85.

Also consider that, after six games, the Orioles' rotation ERA was 5.67, so the 3.63 since then is a nice improvement.

Now the Orioles need their starters to get deeper into the games. No O's pitcher has completed seven innings yet on the season - the longest outing is 6 2/3 innings by Jason Hammel on April 7 against Minnesota.

O's starters have gone six innings or more just seven times in 13 games. The Orioles bullpen is holding up fine right now, but the hope has to be to start getting some deeper outings.

Going into last night's contest, O's starters had pitched a total of 68 innings through 12 games. Of the six other American League clubs that had also played 12 games through Monday, five had gotten more innings from their starters than the Orioles.

Jake Arrieta gave up just one run last night and that was good. But he needed 112 pitches to get 15 outs and that was not good. The Orioles want to figure out how Arrieta can become more pitch efficient, but this has been an issue for him for a long time now.

Hiroki Kuroda pitched a complete-game shutout against the Orioles on Sunday night and threw 113 pitches. That was a very sharp outing and maybe not a fair comparison, but he got 12 more outs on essentially the same number of pitches than Arrieta had against Tampa Bay.

Right now, the Orioles rotation is starting to pitch better and that is very welcome. But it will also be welcome when they start pitching deeper into games.

Quality starts among overall starts by O's pitchers through 13 games:

* Jake Arrieta: 0-for-3
* Wei-Yin Chen: 2-for-3
* Miguel Gonzalez: 2-for-2
* Jason Hammel: 2-for-3
* Chris Tillman: 0-for-2

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