With the Orioles hovering around 30 games under the .500 mark and it’s not even September yet, it’s hard to keep a positive attitude about the Birds. But, relief turned starting pitcher Alfredo Simon has emerged as the top hurler in the Baltimore rotation.
It was not even clear at the beginning of the season if Simon would be on the field with the Orioles this year because of the off-season gun incident he was involved in back in the Dominican Republic.
Simon missed the first month and a half plus of the season and finally joined the team on May 24th as he began the season in the bullpen. Simon struggled out of the Birds’ pen in seven games as he posted a 4.64 ERA in 21.1 innings and he allowed 25 hits and surrendered 11 earned runs. Opponents were hitting .301 off of him and he compiled 17 strike outs and seven walks.
After serving as the long man out of the Birds’ pen, Buck Showalter finally promoted him to starter and gave him a chance to prove himself on July 9th in Boston when they were in the midst of their nine game losing streak.
Since then, Simon has toed the rubber nine times and is 3-5 with a 4.17 ERA; he’s tossed 54 innings (an average of six innings per outing), surrendered 60 base hits, and allowed 25 earned runs. The big right-hander has recorded 34 strike outs and 14 walks and opponents are hitting .283 off of the hot-throwing hurler.
While in the rotation, Simon’s tossed four quality starts and the Birds have won three of those contests. He’s never allowed more than five runs in a single outing and has only given up more than three runs on three occasions.
Although Simon doesn’t post huge strike out numbers, he finds ways to record outs and give his team a chance to win. In four of his nine outings, he’s surrendered two runs or less and he won two of those games, lost one and received a no decision for the other contest.
Simon sports the best starter’s ERA on the team and is one of only three members of the Baltimore rotation who has an ERA below five. Rookie Zach Britton is second on the team with a 4.54 ERA and ace Jeremy Guthrie sits with a 4.62 earned run average.
Over Guthrie’s last nine games, he’s 3-4 and has thrown 56 innings, surrendered 30 earned runs (4.82 ERA), allowed 55 hits, including eight homeruns. His ERA rose from 4.23 to 4.42 over that stretch. (one game was a relief appearance by Guthrie)
Guthrie has struggled in August as he’s allowed four or more earned runs in three of his four outings and six earned twice! He sparkled in his last performance against the Twins and lowered his ERA from 4.62 to 4.42 by going seven innings and allowing only one earned run.
Newly acquired righty from Texas Tommy Hunter has made four starts for the Birds so far, but hasn’t been able to find his groove with his new team. He sports a 6.08 ERA with the Orioles after tossing 23.2 innings and allowing 16 earned runs on 35 base hits.
Over his last nine games with both the Rangers and Orioles, he’s accumulated only 32 innings because he was used out of the Ranger’s bullpen. He’s allowed 20 earned runs and 44 hits over that stretch, which equates to a 5.63 ERA in his last nine appearances.
Hunter has recorded only one quality outing since becoming a member of the Orioles rotation after he tossed 6.2 innings against the Athletics and he allowed only two earned runs in his only win with the Orioles.
Another newly acquired pitcher left-handed starter Jo-Jo Reyes has toed the rubber three times for the Birds and is 1-2 with a 6.00 ERA; Reyes has tossed 15 innings, allowed 17 hits and gave up 10 earned runs since wearing the black and orange.
On the season, Reyes is 6-10 over his 23 starts (24 appearances) as he’s pitched 125.2 innings, allowed a whopping 157 base hits, 76 earned runs and 19 homeruns with the Jays and O’s.
Reyes has also recorded one quality outing since joining the Birds at the beginning of the month. In his second outing with the club, he surrendered only one run over six innings against the Detroit Tigers.
Both young lefty sensations Brian Matusz and Britton have struggled mightily over the last couple of months or so. The Birds demoted Matusz on June 30th after he allowed eight earned against the Cardinals in just 3.1 innings.
Since he was recalled to the majors, he’s started two games for the Orioles and has tossed 10.2 innings allowing 11 earned runs on 17 base hits, which equates to a 9.71 ERA. Matusz hasn’t been the same since he got injured at the beginning of the season and returned from the DL more quickly than many critics and fans had expected.
Britton, who began the season masterfully for the Birds as he was 5-3 with a 2.93 ERA at the end of May, has really taken a plunge in both ERA and the win column since. After spending about three weeks in the minors in July, he’s started three games and recorded a win against the Twins on Monday night after going five innings and allowing only one earned run.
But, over his previous four outings, he was winless at 0-3 and he tossed only 11.1 innings, allowed an astounding 31 base hits, and 20 earned runs (16.22 ERA). In two of those four outings, he tossed less than an inning before being pulled (0.1 inning, and 0.2 inning).
Overall, the Orioles’ team ERA sits at 4.86 on the year, which ranks them 13th in the American League. Without Simon, their starting pitcher’s ERA is 5.35 as they’ve tossed 748.1 innings and surrendered 445 earned runs. With Simon, their starter’s ERA drops to 5.27 on the year.
There’s no doubt that Simon has been the most consistent Orioles starting pitcher over the last two months of the season, and he continues to post strong numbers out of the Birds’ rotation.
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