Did Orioles left-hander Zach Britton earn another start?

The Baltimore Sun

DETROIT -- Orioles manager Buck Showalter wouldn’t commit to giving left-hander Zach Britton another start after his solid outing Tuesday night in the Orioles’ 5-2 win over Detroit.

I asked Showalter whether Britton presented himself well enough to earn another start. The rotation is definitely in a state in flux for this weekend’s Toronto series, hinging on Jason Hammel’s recovery from a stomach virus and Miguel Gonzalez’s return from the paternity list.  

“He’s an option,” Showalter said. “We’ve got a lot of things going on. We’re taking a look at [Wei-Yin] Chen’s outing on Thursday, see where we project him after that, see when Ham, when Ham’s comfortable to go and when we see Miguel back. We [don’t] know what the plans are until you get it here. And Freddy [Garcia], if we have to use Freddy out of the pen or not tomorrow. We’ll proceed, and see where it takes us. He did a nice job, all things considered. I’d like to see him get a little deeper.”

Britton allowed one runs on five hits over 5 1/3 innings on Tuesday night in his first major league start since late April. And if shutting down a Tigers’ lineup that entered the night hitting an AL-best .281 as a team doesn’t earn another outing, I’m not sure what does.

“I think I threw OK,” Britton said. “I’d like to go deeper in the game with that lead. Walked a couple guys I probably shouldn’t have, maybe be a little more aggressive in those situations. I felt like it was OK. Lot of things to improve on, I would have like to go deeper in the game and I feel like if I didn’t walk Fielder especially I would have had that opportunity.

“It’s definitely a step in the right direction, but I don’t think it was fantastic. I can definitely improve on some things.”

Britton did walk three batters, but he was able to get out some early jams, a factor that has been a key difference maker with the Orioles’ young pitchers.

After the game, Britton said he wanted to continue to do what made him successful at Triple-A Norfolk, where he recorded four quality starts in his last five outings, pitching to a 2.03 ERA in that span.

“Mixing in my offspeed pitches earlier, trying to command those a little better and stop being predictable with the sinker,” Britton explained. “I think that sometimes I get in trouble with being a little stubborn with the sinker, making sure I’m mixing in all my pitches and if I do that then they can complement each other. Like today I was missing some spots, I was able to keep some guys a little bit out in front, a little bit behind, which was good.”

Asked if he believed he'd get another start, Britton had no clue.

"I think it’s tough to say," Britton said. "I’ve been here long enough to realize that’s their decision and I can just do what I do when I get the ball."

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