Pitch efficiency had Brandon Hyde raving about a pitcher in Toronto

It was the starting pitching performance that had manager Brandon Hyde raving about his right-hander after the game in Toronto and even more the next day.

It was the work on Monday night of Grayson Rodriguez against the Blue Jays. And not because he blew hitters away or piled up strikeouts, or put up a scoreless outing, but because he got outs quickly. He was both good and very pitch-efficient.

Rodriguez went 6 2/3 innings at Rogers Centre, allowing seven hits and one earned run, a very solid outing with no walks and four strikeouts on 86 pitches. He was pitch-efficient especially early on that game, throwing 10 pitches in the first, 13 in the second and 13 more in the third inning to get his day started, needing just 36 pitches through three.

The skipper was a big fan of that outing.

“For me, he has taken enormous strides forward," Hyde said of Rodriguez. "Just from his fastball command, understanding how to pitch. You know the early, weak contact was just fantastic. He pitched with his fastball commanding it, not just overpowering people. You didn’t see 98 to 100 (mph), but he was throwing the ball where he wanted to with plenty of fastball. He is really starting to understand how to pitch and set up hitters to get guys early in the count to allow himself to go deeper in the game.

“That was one of the more satisfying starts for me, watching a guy just really come into his own. That was a major league start (Monday) night.”

Said Rodriguez, as he improved to 6-2 with a 3.28 ERA: “Tonight there was a lot of early contact. And when they are giving me that early contact for outs, I’m going to take it to allow me to go as deep as I did.”

“For me, that’s his best start of the year,” said Hyde. “He was ahead of hitters 22 times. No walks. Into the seventh inning. That was the best command I’ve seen him have. Really, from the third inning on his last start. And carried into this start and that was absolutely fantastic."

Rodriguez has made strides in becoming more pitch-efficient. He averaged 17.2 pitches per inning in 2023. This year he is down to 15.6.

Corbin Burnes is tied for ninth in the American League at 15.5 pitches per inning while Rodriguez is tied for 12th with his 15.6 mark.

Led by Burnes and Rodriguez, the Orioles are tied for second in the American League this year as a team, throwing 16.0 pitches per inning with only Seattle (15.4) ahead of them. They are tied for fourth-best pitch efficiency in the majors.

That is improvement from last year’s mark of 16.5 pitches per inning, which ranked seventh in the AL and 13th in the majors.

How can a pitcher with strikeout stuff try to get early-count contact to help his pitch count?

“It is really about trusting your fastball command and trusting where to go to get outs early in the count," Hyde said. "You know a down-and-away fastball still plays in this league. And a down-and-away fastball is a ground ball a lot of times. Being able to set up hitters with one pitch to get him out on the next pitch.

“I think Grayson, really the last 11-12 innings that he’s thrown, has really learned a lot. He’s going to punch out guys. He’s got strikeout stuff. But he’s also going to get ahead of hitters and get a weak ground ball and be able to stay out there for a long time."

Getting quicker outs and being one of baseball's most efficient pitching staffs is another strong area for the 2024 Orioles.

The latest power display: The Orioles have now hit 19 homers in the last seven games, hitting three or more in a game five times in this span. They have homered 53 times the past 32 games and lead the major leagues with 98 homers.

The latest three came via the bats of Anthony Santander, Ryan Mountcastle and Jordan Westburg in Friday's 6-3 win over Tampa Bay. 

The Orioles (40-22) now have 100 games to go and moved to within 3 1/2 games of the New York Yankees, who lost 2-1 to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 11 innings.

The Birds now are the only team in the majors with five players with 10 or more homers, as Gunnar Henderson has 19, Santander 13, Adley Rutschman 12, Mountcastle 11 and Westburg 10.

The Birds are 14-6 for the season versus AL East teams and 7-4 in a stretch of 14 straight games against division foes.

Here is a look at last night's homers: here, here and here

Stowers and Norby in Orioles lineup this afternoon
Circling back to yesterday's happenings with the O...

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to https://www.masnsports.com/