This is an impressive stat for the Orioles and it bodes well for them should they still be playing in October: They are now 10-5 in games when they face a starting pitcher who is currently in the American League top 10 in ERA.
The latest win came last night. They pinned a loss on Chris Sale. They are 2-0 this year when Sale has started against them. They have not pinned losses on every top starter they have faced, but they’ve gone on to win 10 of those 15 games.
Here is the list:
* 1-0 when facing Felix Hernandez
* 2-0 when facing Chris Sale
* 0-2 when facing Corey Kluber
* 2-0 when facing Masahiro Tanaka
* 1-1 when facing Jon Lester
* 1-0 when facing Garrett Richards
* 2-0 when facing Hisashi Iwakuma
* 0-1 when facing Scott Kazmir
* 1-1 when facing Sonny Gray
Buck Showalter has said the key to beating those pitchers is often getting a well-pitched game from his starter. Bud Norris sure did that last night, taking a one-hit shutout on 64 pitches into the seventh inning. He then watched Nick Markakis keep the O’s in the lead with a sensational catch in right field.
In Norris’ last four starts, he is 3-0 with a 2.59 ERA. Norris has allowed two earned runs or less in seven of his last 10 starts since June 9. In that stretch he is 7-2 with an ERA of 2.87.
The Orioles used four pitchers to throw a two-hitter on Sunday at Cleveland. They had a two-pitcher, three-hitter on 105 pitches last night. That is five hits and just three runs allowed in the past two games.
Those back-to-back losses at Cleveland and the angst that came with it from some readers here seem miles away now.
There were some interesting notes on the MASN “O’s Xtra” postgame show last night. Markakis now has a 10-game hitting streak and it’s his 14th streak of 10 or more games since 2006. Also Markakis now has 430 career multi-hit games and that ranks fourth best in Orioles history.
The Orioles have now had 30 outings of seven innings or more by a starer this year. Chris Tillman has nine while Wei-Yin Chen and Bud Norris have done that six times. Miguel Gonzalez has four, Ubaldo Jimenez three and Kevin Gausman two.
Last night was probably one of the most complete games by the Orioles this year. They hit homers, they got solid pitching, they had clutch hits, they played outstanding defense and they added to their division lead.
They lead the American League East by 7 1/2 games with 39 to play.