KANSAS CITY, Mo. — This is why the Orioles traded for right-hander Scott Feldman.
After his eight-inning, two-run effort in Monday’s 9-2 win over the Royals, Feldman has turned in three quality starts in his four Orioles outings. Take away his second start, in which he was charged with seven runs against the Rangers on July 8, and Feldman has a 2.95 ERA.
The Orioles struck quickly to acquire Feldman from the Cubs on July 2 in a trade that sent Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop to Chicago. And by acquiring him – along with the return of Wei-Yin Chen from the DL – the Orioles finally have a stable five-man rotation. The Orioles have eight quality starts in the past nine games.
"They understand the challenge," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "It's not just them ... there's a lot phases to this game, but that's something we knew we had to get better at. And so far, in a short sampling we have."
At the same time, Feldman is winning over his Orioles teammates.
"We've played great defense in the first half and we swung the bats well but out pitching was here and there, but I think the trade bringing Feldy over here, a guy who is going to throw strikes and he's going to pitch to contact and be around the zone, I think that's huge," said first baseman Chris Davis, who played with Feldman in Texas. "I think our starters are starting to hit their strides and everything else is falling into place."
On Monday, Feldman ended his outing by retiring 10 straight batters while mixing his pitches well and pitching to contact (10 groundball outs, 9 flyball outs). He was able to get some key ground-ball outs when he needed them. With one run in and two on in the third, Feldman induced an inning-ending double play from Eric Hosmer. With runners on the corners and two outs in the fourth, Feldman got Miguel Tejada on a groundout to shortstop.
"It's fun, I like playing behind him," shortstop J.J. Hardy said. "I think we all do. He mixes up his pitches, he's throwing strikes and he's keeping the ball down. So we're on our toes out there on the field, we like playing behind him."
Feldman said having an strong offense behind him – the Orioles ran out to a 4-1 lead after three innings and led 9-2 after six – has helped him adjust.
"It's been great. I knew what kind of offense they had because I've faced them in the past, but now that I'm a part of the team it's awesome," Feldman said. "I'm glad to be a part of it, I'm glad they traded for me and I'm glad to watch them on a nightly basis."