For the Orioles, besides ending their six-game losing streak, the best development over the last few days was seeing their starting pitchers deliver some solid performances.
Jason Hammel had pitched to an ERA of 10.43 over his previous three starts until giving the club a solid 6 2/3 innings last night. No doubt, seeing Hammel throw well was a big development for him and the team.
The Orioles have gotten a season-high four straight quality starts, which means your starter goes six innings or more and allows three earned runs or less.
Sunday: Chris Tillman allows three earned runs over six innings versus Tampa Bay
Monday: Freddy Garcia allows two earned over six innings versus the Yankees
Tuesday: Miguel Gonzalez allows two earned runs over seven innings against the Yankees
Wednesday: Hammel allows two earned runs over 6 2/3 innings against the Yankees
In that four-game stretch, the starters pitched to a 3.16 ERA. Over 25 2/3 innings, they gave up 19 hits and nine runs with five walks and 17 strikeouts.
The O's had gotten three straight quality starts three times before, but never four in a row.
OK, kid, no pressure. Now go out and make it five tonight. Actually, I think the club winning the last two and getting some good starting pitching puts a little less pressure tonight on Kevin Gausman. Now he is not out worrying about ending any losing streak or stopping the rotation from having another rough night.
Before this stretch began, the starting pitcher ERA was 7.56 over the previous seven games and just once in that stretch did an O's starter pitch more than five innings. This four-game run was badly needed.
"Guys in the rotation feed off each other, and hopefully they can get a roll going, They know that is what we need to get where we want to go," Matt Wieters said after last night's game.
We can talk about a lot of aspects of this team, but the starting pitching is likely the one area that sets the tone for everything else. The Orioles currently rank third in the American League in runs scored but ninth in team ERA. If they could reverse those two, they'd probably be happy to do it.
If Gausman pitches well, the O's rotation that looked a mess just a few days ago may suddenly have turned a corner.
Gausman will become the 11th different pitcher to make a start for the Orioles this year. They used 12 all of last year. But it's not about how many you use, but how those you use them.
The Orioles have been struggling to find the right combination of starting pitchers. With a return to that group of five by Gonzalez, Hammel's bounceback performance last night and Gausman's addition, have the Orioles now suddenly found stability with their starting pitching?