Zach Britton on his good start, a Zach Davies update and a marquee minor league matchup

During his pregame press conference today Orioles manager Buck Showalter talked briefly about Double-A Bowie right-hander Zach Davies.

Davies, the club’s 11th-ranked prospect according to Baseball America, left his start in the second inning at Akron yesterday when he took a line drive off his right forearm, very close to his pitching elbow.

“I think Davies is okay,” Showalter said. “Our guys said he might miss a start. He’s a little sore. I saw the tape of it, he got smoked.”

Davies did indeed take a shot off the bat of Akron’s Tyler Holt. The 21-year-old Davies is 1-1 with a 4.26 ERA for the Baysox.

While on the subject of pitchers, the Orioles’ Zach Britton got his second win last night, with two shutout innings against Toronto.

Britton is throwing his sinker maybe as well as he ever has, at least at the major league level, since he was in the rotation at the beginning of the 2011 season when he had an ERA of 2.35 over his first 10 starts.

So far this season, Britton has given up just two hits over 8 1/3 shutout innings. Opponent batters are just 2-for-25 against him and he has a remarkable 8-to-1 ground-to-air out ratio right now.

What’s been the key so far for the lefty?

“Just being aggressive in the strikezone with my sinker,” Britton said. “Really trusting it. Haven’t really thrown any four seamers this year and that’s really new to me. I’ve normally mixed the four seam in quite a bit.”

So why has the sinker been the the most consistent we’ve seen it since 2011?

“Well, arm health. Physically where I’m at right now compared to the last couple years,” Britton said. “And, with that is consistent arm slot. Consistent arm slot equals consistent, maybe not results, but consistent action down at the plate with my fastball.”

Here is a note looking ahead to the coming week in the minor leagues. The pitching probables are out for the upcoming series at Delmarva between the Single-A Shorebirds and Hagerstown. A couple of top pitching prospects are slated to face each other on Wednesday night with Delmarva’s Hunter Harvey going against Hagerstown’s Lucas Giolito.

Harvey was the O’s first round pick last June, No. 22 overall and the club’s No. 4 ranked prospect according to Baseball America. Giolito was the Nationals’ No. 1 prospect, drafted 16th in the first round in 2012, whose fastball was clocked at 100 mph last summer in the Gulf Coast League.

Any pitching matchup set for several days in advance is always subject to change, but that is the matchup for now and one that some minor league followers were hoping would happen is set for Wednesday.

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