As ‘pen deals with loss of O’Day, Britton just keeps rolling right along

It seems Orioles closer Zach Britton has set the bar extremely high with his performance since moving into the ninth-inning role. Then he consistently reaches that bar.

He began Saturday night tied for the American League lead with 16 saves and his numbers are, yet again, outstanding. He is 2-1 with a 1.16 ERA. Over 23 1/3 innings, he has walked five and fanned 27 with a .139 batting average against. He allows an average of just 4.2 hits along with 10.4 strikeouts and 1.9 walks per every nine innings.

Since he last gave up a run on April 30, Britton has recorded 12 straight scoreless appearances. In that span, he has given up just five hits and three walks with 14 strikeouts over 13 1/3 innings.

No doubt Orioles skipper Buck Showalter has a pretty good situation late in games with the 28-year-old Britton, who made his first All-Star game last season.

zach-britton-in-white-Sidebar.png“A utopia for most managers is to have a left-handed closer,” Showalter said. “Because most pinch-hitters off the bench are left-handed. You want a left-handed closer that can keep the ball in the park. I can’t imagine anybody doing a better job than Zach does for us in that role.

“When you see left-hand pitchers that can face right-handed hitters at the end of the night with the game on the line. It has been proud for all of us to watch Zach’s development as a major league pitcher. He’s found a role that really fits him and we have a lot of confidence in him.”

Since taking over as the Orioles closer in mid-May 2014, Britton has saved 89 of 97 chances for a 91.8 percent success rate. Since the start of last season, that percentage is even higher at 92.8 percent (52 of 56 chances.)

When he has pitched this year with runners in scoring position, Britton has allowed one hit in 20 at-bats for an .050 average. It seems another All-Star game appearance could be in his near future.

Check out the podcast: The latest edition of the Yard Work podcast is out for your listening pleasure. Brian Eller and I talked about many current O’s topics. Click here to listen.

Latest rotation stats: The Orioles rotation needs to starting put up more zeroes - and soon. Last night’s 8-6 loss to the Yankees shows that the Orioles just can’t keep outscoring their opponents. O’s starters have allowed five runs or more for five consecutive games with an ERA of 10.03. The rotation has just one quality start the past 10 games and just five the last 19 games with an ERA of 6.68 in that span. O’s pitchers have allowed 57 runs the last eight games as the team ERA for the year is now a season-high 4.16.

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