In his first two major league starts, Orioles pitcher Zach Britton allowed just one earned run and seven hits over 13 2/3 innings.
In his last two major league starts, Britton has allowed 13 earned runs (17 overall) on 13 hits in one inning.
You could have gotten plenty of people to laugh at you if you had said before the season that Britton would give up 17 runs in an inning. No, it wasn't in one appearance, but it was still 17 runs in an inning.
It has been a stunning fall in these last two games for Britton and, to say the least, it will be interesting to see how he does tonight in Kansas City.
If the first step to fixing or overcoming a problem is acknowledging the issue, maybe Britton is on the right track. Rather than say, I'll be fine, I just have to make better pitches or words to that effect this week, Britton admitted his confidence has taken a hit and he may have to work more on the mental part of the game right now then refining his sinker.
"I think right now it's confidence for me, it's more the mental approach knowing that I can get these guys out and staying aggressive," Britton said this week in an interview on 105.7 The Fan's Baltimore Baseball Tonight show. "Not getting timid, because I know my stuff is there. I've been talking to Kevin Gregg the last couple of days, been talking to Matt Wieters and even J.J Hardy came up and said 'your stuff is fine, don't think you need to add a new pitch or start throwing this or that.'
"It's about believing in it and knowing you can get these guys out again. With a couple of bad outings, your confidence kind of wanes a bit. They just told me to just stay aggressive and the results will be there at the end if you just stay aggressive."
Britton became the first pitcher in major league history to give up eight runs or more without finishing the first inning in back-to-back starts.
His ERA went from 3.47 to 4.56 over those two starts and the Red Sox and Yankees went 13-for-17 at bat against him in those outings.
Heck, you could add to that Britton's last outing for Double-A Bowie on July 25 when he gave up eight runs (four earned) in the fifth inning for the Baysox against Harrisburg and he didn't make it through that inning.
This was after he had thrown four scoreless innings looking great. It's been quite a ride recently for this kid.
It's Aug. 4 and the Orioles are 21 games under .500 and 24 games out of first place. But tonight is not just another late-season game for Britton.
Britton through three: Zach Britton has allowed three runs (one earned) on seven hits, throwing 55 pitches through three innings tonight. It was certainly important for Britton to get over the first-inning hurdle and he did that, but gave up three runs in the first. His own error on a sac bunt attempt helped fuel KC's three-run inning.
Britton seems to be slowly making some improvements and the Royals are 2-for-7 against him tonight hitting with runners in scoring position. He still doesn't seem to be getting the usual sink on some of his fastballs and has left some pitches up in the zone. But he pitched out of jams, showing some poise, in the second and third.
Britton takes the loss: Britton gave up six runs (four earned) on 12 hits over 5 1/3 to take the loss and he falls to 6-9 on the year. KC scored six runs in the last of the sixth to rally for a 9-4 win.