Here is a stat that hammers home the point that Orioles starting pitchers have not gone deep enough into games this season: The O’s are facing Cleveland’s Justin Masterson tonight. He has gone seven innings or more eight times this year. The entire O’s rotation has gone seven or more nine times.
Masterson has done that in 16 starts and the O’s staff in 77 starts. Masterson has two complete games and the O’s have none.
Masterson could prove tough to hit tonight as he has all year. He is 9-5 with an ERA of 3.48. He is tied for third in the AL in wins, tied for fourth in strikeouts and is fourth with 108 2/3 innings.
In his last two starts, Masterson gave up just three earned runs over 13 1/3 innings with 18 strikeouts. Left-handed batters hit .247 off him and right-handed batters just .182 with a .503 OPS.
In 12 career games with eight starts against Baltimore, he is 6-3 with a 4.29 ERA. Maybe the Orioles need to see some pitches tonight as Masterson does lead the AL with 43 walks.
Masterson has retired the first six Orioles in order tonight, throwing just 10 pitches in the first inning and only 13 in the second. The O’s hope Masterson won’t be masterful tonight, but he’s off to a good start in his attempt to pitch deep into another game.
Update: Masterson has kept the Orioles in check through six innings with a 3-1 lead. He took a no-hitter into the fifth before allowing his only run so far. He is three outs from getting another seven-inning start.
Meanwhile, the Orioles have now scored just 10 runs the last four games - counting tonight - and are 3-for-22 with runners in scoring position in that time.
Then that happened: The Orioles did get to Masterson and it was quite an outburst of offense. They quickly erupted for five runs on two homers in the last of the seventh to lead 6-3. The inning featured a Chris Davis two-run homer and an Alexi Casilla three-run homer, which broke the 3-3 tie.
It was Casilla’s first homer since Aug. 8, 2012 against Masterson. You can’t make this stuff up.
The O’s needed that and Masterson, as it turns out, did not get his seven-inning outing tonight.