After a 19-game stretch where Orioles starting pitchers recorded just five quality starts while pitching to an ERA of 6.68, their starters have fared much better over the past two games.
At a time when the Orioles scored just seven runs in those two games, they got two wins thanks to the starters and a bullpen that has pitched five scoreless innings in those wins. O’s pitchers have not allowed a homer in the last three games after yielding 19 over the previous six contests.
Last night, right-hander Brad Brach extended his scoreless streak to nine games and 10 2/3 innings by pitching a scoreless eighth inning. He struck out the side on 22 pitches. Brach is 5-0 with one save and an ERA of 0.88 ERA with 34 strikeouts in 25 relief appearances. Lefty Zach Britton extended his scoreless streak to 14 games and 15 1/3 innings with 15 strikeouts since May 5. He is now 18-for-18 in save opportunities this season.
According to STATS, Britton has tied the club record for consecutive saves in as many chances to begin a season and has matched Chris Ray, who recorded 18 straight saves to begin the 2006 season. Britton is now nine saves shy of becoming the fifth pitcher in club history to record 100 career saves with the O’s and would join Gregg Olson (160), Jim Johnson (122), Tippy Martinez (105) and Stu Miller (100).
On the mound tonight in the second game of a three-game series, Ubaldo Jimenez (2-6, 6.59 ERA) faces Kansas City right-hander Yordano Ventura (4-3, 4.82 ERA).
Since beginning the season with an ERA of 3.91 through four starts, Jimenez is 1-4 with an ERA of 8.39 over his last seven starts and has given up five runs or more six times, including in his last five games. On Thursday versus Boston, he threw five scoreless innings before allowing five runs in the sixth. He is winless since beating Oakland on May 7.
In 12 career starts versus K.C., Jimenez is 4-5 with a 4.79 ERA. In seven home starts this year, he is 2-2 with an ERA of 6.00.
Ventura had an ERA of 2.35 his first four starts. But in his most recent seven starts, he is 2-3 with a 6.28 ERA, allowing 27 earned runs over 38 2/3 innings. He has given up four runs or more four times in that span.
Ventura gave up just one run and three hits in seven innings versus the Orioles on April 24 at Kauffman Stadium. In five career starts against Baltimore, he is 4-1 with a 1.91 ERA. He is 2-0 with a 2.63 ERA in two career starts at Camden Yards.
At 33-23, the Orioles lead the American League East by a half-game over Boston and by 3 1/2 games over Toronto. They could tie a season high by going 11 games over .500 tonight. They reached that mark twice before, at 23-12 and at 26-15. They are 22-11 at home and 2-2 versus Kansas City.
O’s right-hander Yovani Galllardo pitched today in a rehab start for Triple-A Norfolk in the Tides’ 7-3 win over Durham at Harbor Park. Over five innings and 85 pitches, Gallardo gave up four hits and three runs, including a two-run homer in the fourth inning. His fastball touched 91 on the stadium radar gun and his next start could be Sunday at Toronto if the Orioles choose to make that move. Click here for more in today’s Virginian-Pilot.