For ninety minutes last night, at least, the Orioles found someone else to look “real” other than Tillman or Gonzalez.
Zach Britton looked like Tom Glavine for five innings on Monday before he inexplicably ran out of steam in the 6th inning and couldn’t record an out.
Five innings — Great.
The next inning — Bring back Omar Daal.
I’ll take it.
“Huh, Drew? Are you nuts?” — that’s what you’re saying.
No, I’m not nuts. Or any more nuts than I was yesterday, I guess.
But I’ll take what Britton did last night, pat him on the rear end, and tell him he’s getting the ball again on Saturday against the Yankees.
I’m not sure what happened in the sixth inning. It was related to one of three things: fatigue, confidence or lack of studying the opponent.
My guess is it’s simply fatigue.
Throwing 80 pitches in the big leagues is MUCH different than throwing 80 in the minors. It takes a lot more energy to be in Baltimore – playing – than it does in Norfolk – playing. Sure, pitching is pitching is pitching…if you’re doing it in Pawtucket you can do the same thing in Boston.
Making a start in the minor leagues is just nothing at all like making one in the majors.
So, I can definitely understand how Britton could have been that masterful for 90 minutes and that horrible for 10 minutes.
As for confidence, as he fatigues and gives up a hit and a run, it all comes back to what worked for him in the early part of the game against the Indians — his location was just outstanding. It seemed he could throw the ball literally to any size-of-a-dime spot near the plate. It was as good of a 5-inning performance as any Orioles pitcher has produced this season.
A couple of hits rattled him, yes, but I’m guessing he was just out of gas by the time he allowed his first run of the night. He wasn’t able to throw the ball off the plate and still make it inviting enough for Cleveland hitters to consider. The last couple of batters, with nothing left, he just tried to throw strikes if nothing else.
Rather than crush Britton for the 6th inning breakdown, I’d rather heap massive praise on him for what he did in the first five frames on Monday night. He made cruise control look bad. If I’m Buck Showalter, I just press upon him to learn from what he did in the five inning stint and try to make that six or seven, next time out.
If that performance is what you’re going to get from him, every night he takes the ball, I’ll give him the starting spot now over those re-treads like Garcia and Jurrjens.