“Good pitching beats good hitting any day of the week.” I heard that for the first time, probably twenty-some years ago, but to this day it still makes perfect sense.
For the Orioles (52-54), it couldn’t be any more true.
If their starting pitching doesn’t come around, the chance at making the postseason is worse than the chance Michael Phelps races a real shark.
But, if the starters can somehow manage to turn it around and pitch better, they may wind up shocking A LOT of people, and making the postseason for the fourth time in six seasons.
The Orioles began play tonight with a 5.81 ERA between their starters. That’s good for 29th in the majors, or in other words, next to last.
The only team worse than the O’s right now is the Cincinnati Reds, at 6.05.
Dylan Bundy started the night with a 4.53 (now down to 4.24), Kevin Gausman lowered his to 5.37, Wade Miley is down to 5.60, Ubaldo Jìmenez is at 6.56 and Chris Tillman has risen to 7.65. Yikes.
Here’s the thing though, when the starters are on, the Orioles are good. Really good, actually. Practically postseason worthy.
In games that a starter allows just three runs or less, the Orioles are now 28-7.
Yeah, that’s good.
Bundy has allowed three runs or less nine times, Gausman has done it eight, Miley has done it four times, Jìmenez has done it three, and Tillman once. Other starters, including Alec Asher, Tyler Wilson and Jayson Aquino have done it each once this season.
We know Dan Duquette believes this team has a shot to make the postseason if the starting pitching improves.
I’d have to agree.
We’ve seen the—or what seems to be—resurgence of the Orioles starters over the past few games, starting with Gausman on Saturday not allowing an earned run in 8.2 IP. Miley then on Sunday allowed just two ER in 5 IP, Jìmenez last night gave up one ER in 7 IP, and Bundy tonight not allowing an ER in 8 IP (a career high).
The Orioles are clawing back to the .500 mark because their starters are giving them a chance to win.
After tomorrow nights series finale with the Royals, the O’s will embark on a 20-game span against teams under .500, with the only exception being the Seattle Mariners who sit one game over .500 while writing this article.
There’s some ground to make up, not only in the Wildcard race, but in the AL East as well. With the Orioles starters firing on all cylinders, our eyes now turn to newly acquired Jeremy Hellickson, to keep this thing going.
Give the club a chance to win, and he may just fit right in.