Just looking at the stat will probably not impress anyone. The Orioles' starting rotation ERA for the year of 4.78 ranks only 12th best in the American League. And 24th in all of MLB. So, there is room for improvement.
But in recent weeks we have seen some of that improvement which creates some hope that the next 103 games for that rotation can be better than the first 59.
And that is because they’ve pitched better in the last 25 games from their rotation - much better. The O’s rotation ERA in that span is 4.00. An ERA for the year of 4.00 would rank sixth-best in the AL. In those 25 games – where the club is 15-10 – the Orioles have 11 quality starts. That is a QS in 44 percent of those games for about the last month. In that span they won series from Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, Toronto, the New York Yankees and San Francisco.
O’s pitching allowed just six runs in three games versus Tampa Bay, seven runs against Pittsburgh, 10 runs in the three-game sweep at Toronto, 13 runs versus the Yankees and nine at San Francisco. They didn’t outslug those teams while beating them, they pitched them well. And the starters had a lot to do with that.
In the season’s first 34 games, before this 25-game run, Baltimore pitchers produced only seven quality starts with an ERA of 5.39. They got a QS 20.6 percent as opposed to 44 percent now in the last 25 contests.
Over the past 10 games, the Baltimore rotation ERA is 3.51 with five quality starts. A QS often leads to a lower ERA and to wins.
With Grayson Rodriguez optioned to Triple-A Norfolk, where he pitched six scorless innings on Saturday, that leaves a “core four” with all four trending up right now. The pitching of this group of four is a big season the Orioles went 13-9 in that 22-game stretch recently versus winning record clubs.
The rotation recently:
* Over his last five games, right-hander Kyle Gibson is 3-2 with a 2.93 ERA and .616 OPS against.
* Over his last six outings, right-hander Tyler Wells is 2-1 with a 3.24 ERA and .636 OPS.
* In his last six starts, right-hander Dean Kremer is 4-1 with a 2.55 ERA and .686 OPS.
* In his last five games, right-hander Kyle Bradish is 1-1 with a 2.86 ERA and .629 OPS.
That is some good pitching there and someone just noting the season rotation ERA may be missing the upward trend.
During the series in San Francisco, manager Brandon Hyde talked about the rotation’s uptick and how some of his younger starters are getting better in front of our eyes.
“You know I’m excited about Dean Kremer’s future," said Hyde. "I just think the guy is going to continue to get better. Same thing you can say about Kyle Bradish and what these guys are doing. Dean had a really good second-half last year and a tough few starts here to start the year. But the way he has rebounded and is able to make pitches, just think he is going to be a good starter in this league as he continues to get more and more starts. And also understands the big leagues a little bit more and understands what he is good at.
'Kyle (Bradish) is in that same boat. They are just continuing to improve. Tyler Wells is in the same boat. I think that we’re in a good spot rotation-wise with three guys that don’t have a ton of major league starter experience to improve the way they are.”
These guys got quite an education as starting pitchers, trying to navigate their way around the AL East.
“It definitely takes a lot of mental toughness," Hyde said. "I think coming up and being a starter in the AL East is, when you are going 19 times a year against those teams, I think Dean the first five or six starts in the big leagues against AL East teams, it’s a sink or swim mentality. There is nothing like it in any other division around.
"Doesn’t matter, NL West, AL West, there is nothing like pitching against AL East lineups as a young starter. So for those guys to have the toughness honestly, to take their bumps and bruises, to learn and go back to Triple-A, what Grayson is going through now and he is going to rebound like these guys and be really good. Something has to be said for the opponents they have to face early in their career and the adjustments that they made. That is good coaching and they needed to stay positive. Not easy to do.”