The pitching is trending in the right direction

The Orioles pitching has taken a bit of a turn for the better and that is very welcome. Yes, it’s just small slice of a long season but maybe it provides a lift for the team and maybe we can begin to see more of it.

The club’s team ERA is 5.52 and through games of Wednesday, that still ranks last in the American League. But the ERA was over 6.00 for most of late April and it went as high as 6.37 on April 22.

But over the past 13 games, the team ERA is 3.97 and the Orioles have allowed four runs or less seven times. They are 5-2 in those games and would be 6-1 if Jackie Bradley Jr. didn’t rob Trey Mancini of a potential walk-off home run on Wednesday.

Bundy-Orange-Home-sidebar.jpgThe O’s rotation has just seven quality starts on the season, but three have come over the last four games from Dylan Bundy, John Means and Andrew Cashner. In those four games, the starting pitcher ERA is 1.85. Over the last eight games, the O’s bullpen ERA is 1.82.

That bullpen has undergone quite a transformation through the first 37 games. On opening day we saw Jimmy Yacabonis, Mike Wright, Pedro Araujo, Nate Karns and Richard Bleier in that ‘pen. Now Karns and Bleier are on the injured list and pitchers like Shawn Armstrong, Branden Kline, Evan Phillips, Yefry Ramirez and Gabriel Ynoa are getting bullpen opportunities.

Getting back to the rotation, can the trio of Bundy, Cashner and Means lead that rotation to some respectability? I would have thought without Alex Cobb that would be hard to do. That of course is the version of Cobb that was so strong in the second half of last season.

There is reason to be encouraged by Bundy, who threw 7 1/3 scoreless in the Orioles first shutout of 2019. They beat Tampa Bay 3-0 on Saturday night. Bundy gave up just three hits with one walk and four strikeouts. He threw 96 pitches, 62 for strikes, and is 1-4 with a 5.30 ERA. Over his last four starts, his ERA is 3.47. Also he has allowed just three homers in 23 1/3 in those four games.

Cashner has allowed two earned runs or less in three of his past four starts. He has outings of seven and six innings in that span. Means blew past the five-inning barrier his last start going seven inning and his ERA is down to 2.48.

So the Orioles would love to be able to say their pitching is improved. Maybe their remodeled bullpen and a recent uptick from their starters will make that so over a longer stretch.

By the way, the club is giving up fewer home homers. O’s pitchers allowed 39 homers in their first nine games at Camden Yards. Now that number is eight allowed in the past nine games with six games in that span yielding one or none.

Feeling a draft: The First-Year Player Draft begins on June 3 and the Orioles have the first pick in the first round. Almost every mock draft has the Orioles taking Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman. Here is more from MLBPipeline.com and Baseball America.

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