Baltimore Orioles Zach Britton to return to team on Wednesday
After a long stint on the DL, Baltimore Orioles closer Zach Britton will get back to the team on Wednesday.
While this will not do anything to improve the Baltimore Orioles starting pitching, it will put a little fear in the batters who face him in the ninth.
Hopefully, Britton has fully healed from the forearm injury that put him on the 60-day DL back in early May. Reports are that he is pain free and ready to throw.
Prior to his time on the DL, the 29-year-old lefty threw in six games in April and two in May. In nine innings pitched, he’s currently holding an ERA of 1.00 and a WHIP of 1.778. He has seven strikeouts, four walks, and five saves. With Britton in the pen, the Orioles have a 7-1 record.
Britton is ready to get back to the team after a simulated spring training set of games with several minor league teams. In an article by Eduardo A. Encino with The Baltimore Sun, Britton said of his starts:
"“Physically, I’m right where I need to be, and even a lot of the pitches, too, are quality pitches right now, too. It’s like the end of spring training and starting over with the team.”"
In Britton’s absence, Brad Brach has been finishing games. The 2016 All-Star has been doing well in closing situations. He has earned 15 saves and has blown four. His ERA of 2.72 is respectable and the Orioles are 31-5 when Brach closes out games. Once Britton gets back, Brach and Darren O’Day can both get back to their respect roles in relief.
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Keeping in mind that both O’Day and Britton were on the DL at the same time, there is a chance that the Orioles could stop bleeding runs. O’Day missed most of June with a strained right shoulder. In their absences, the bullpen saw 17 pitchers enter and exit. Brach has provided some stability, but one man cannot make a bullpen.
Britton may not be given closing duties immediately, unless the Orioles can get some offense going. The team has already had its horrible streak of giving up more than 5 runs for 20 games in a row. Since that streak ended on June 24, the Birds have had four games out of nine with five or more runs allowed. O’Day pitched in three of those nine games, so it is clear that the troubles are not just related to relief pitchers.
Next: Orioles let the Brewers get the best of them
When the lowest ERA in the rotation is 4.02 and the rest are all above 5.00, the troubles with the Orioles are well beyond the control of the relief pitchers. (That’s a post for another day). For now, it’s time to just be glad that the pen can get back into order. Hopefully, a little relief-pitching mojo can make its way to the rotation.