Anyone watching the Orioles the last two nights had to be impressed with their pitching after back-to-back shutouts of the Astros, who lead the American League with 99 wins. A Houston team that entered this series third in the AL in runs scored, winners of 10 of their last 11 games and with a seven-game road win streak.
Then Houston lost 2-0 and was held to two hits and lost 6-0 and held to four hits.
O’s starters Kyle Bradish and Dean Kremer threw 17 2/3 scoreless innings with two walks and 16 strikeouts combined.
Count former Oriole Trey Mancini among those impressed. Mancini talked about those two Baltimore pitchers today from the visiting clubhouse at Oriole Park.
“The stuff is electric. Both of them,” Mancini said. “Both times we saw them they shut us down and it’s not an easy offense to shut down. You have to tip your hat to them. They did a great job out there and the stuff looks really good. I was their teammate for a long time and to see them come along the way they have is very impressive. The stuff has always been there and now that they are pounding the strike zone, it’s tough to hit.
“It’s a full mix (by Bradish) that’s really good. He’s got a two-seamer and the fastball that cuts. Slider, he located it really well and has a changeup that he will throw to righties too. All plus pitches in my opinion. He always has had confidence and the stuff to succeed but sometimes, and I experienced this too, you have to go through a learning curve. He’s done that and so has Dean.
“As well as I have wanted to do facing off against them and our offense as a whole, they just have done a great job of containing us. We were all impressed with the stuff we saw from them.”
O’s pitchers have allowed just four runs against Houston in going 4-1 versus the Astros.
I asked Mancini about the wonderful ovation he got here Thursday night before his first at-bat at Camden Yards since his trade.
“It was really special. I spent a lot great years here. It’s a place that I love and I love the fans, always have, always will. So it was a pretty special moment.”
Now he is starting to point toward his preparation for the playoffs. Houston has already clinched the AL West and is closing in on clinching the No. 1 playoff seed in the AL.
“It’s exciting. Something that I’ve always really wanted. I got a little taste of it in ’16. Taken awhile to get back, but this is just a really fun team to be a part of. They welcomed me here with opens arms.”
As for the team he left behind Mancini, of course, still has fond feelings for the players in the Orioles' clubhouse. He admires how they continued to win after both he and Jorge López were traded.
“I’m not surprised with what they are going. Even with some odds probably stacked against them. No one over there really cares about that. You could tell it was a different team from the start of the year. Being a competitor against them you want to win, but those are my friends over there and I always want the best for them. There is a part of me proud of them and it’s amazing what they’ve accomplished. They have a very bright future over there," he said.