What gives with the Orioles' resurgent pitching?
I am getting ready to head back to Baltimore after watching the Orioles sweep the Los Angeles Angels.
The trip was filled with surprises.
One, I was surprised by the lack of discipline and attention to fundamentals demonstrated by the Angels. Mike Scioscia is one of baseball’s finest managers and his teams are always well-schooled. I know these Angels are banged up, but they just didn’t do the little things well in the six games I have seen them this year.
Two, I was surprised by the pop rookie Josh Bell is showing from the right side. We have heard for a year that he can’t hit lefties because he can’t hit with power from the right side. The minor-league numbers back that up. And yet all three of his homers, including one Saturday, have come from the right side and landed around right-center. I chided him Sunday that the book is out on him now – that he has no left-handed power. The quiet kid just smiled and shrugged his shoulders.
Three, I am surprised that the Orioles had never before swept the Angels in a season series in the history of the two teams meeting (that goes back to 1961). Yes, it’s difficult to sweep any team for a full season, because that means winning six straight games at the minimum. But we’re talking 50 seasons here.
Four, I am utterly shocked by the way this club is pitching under Buck Showalter. In his 26 games, the Orioles have posted 18 quality starts, meaning the starter has gone at least six innings and given up three or fewer runs. That’s phenomenal for this group. And the bullpen is contributing, too. The overall staff hadn’t had an ERA lower than 4.62 for any month this season before Showalter took over. The Orioles’ ERA for August is 3.57.
Honestly, I know one of the primary reasons Showalter is 16-10 as the club’s skipper is because the pitching staff has been so good. But what’s the primary reason the Orioles’ pitching has been so good under Showalter? Is it coincidence? Is he handling them better (not sure how much better you can handle starters and get them to pitch longer, though handling the bullpen is, obviously, a different animal)? Are they more focused because they have a new skipper? Are they just feeding off each other?
I want your theories on the Orioles chicken-or-the-egg pitching success under Showalter.
Daily Think Special: What gives with the Orioles’ resurgent pitching?
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