Zach Britton Deserves Another Start

Zach BrittonMy expectations were low for Zach Britton heading into his start against the dangerous Tigers on Tuesday night. Detroit leads all of baseball in batting average (.281), on base percentage (.348) and is third in slugging percentage (.776) I just didn’t think those numbers mixed well against a guy like Britton, who has pitched to a 1.491 career WHIP over 220 2/3 innings pitched in the big leagues.

Apparently, I was wrong. You can’t predict baseball.

Britton’s stat line looks pretty average: 5 1/3 innings pitched, five hits, one earned run, three walks, and a strikeout, but I was impressed with his approach against Detroit’s lineup. He didn’t seem intimidated by the big bats in pressure situations and was comfortable enough with his stuff to pitch to contact.

Eight of the sixteen outs Britton recorded were on the ground and he worked the lower third of the strikezone effectively. Here’s a look at his strikezone plot with at-bat results per the PITCHf/x data on BrooksBaseball.net.

Zach  Britton strikezone plot - June 18, 2013

Of those eight pitches in the lower third of the of the zone, Britton forced four groundouts, a pop out, a strikeout, a walk and a single. The lone run he gave up, a solo homer to Matt Tuiasosopo, was a pitch he left over the middle of the plate.

Perhaps the most encouraging part of Britton’s start was his ability to work out of jams. In the bottom of the fourth he battled back after walking Victor Martinez and forced Jhonny Peralta to fly out to center on a 3-2 slider. Then in the fifth, Britton surrendered a two-out walk to Austin Jackson and an infield single to Torii Hunter on a flukey groundball that hit off his glove, but forced the always dangerous Miguel Cabrera to ground out to second on a 2-0 fastball.

Overall, I was very impressed with what I saw from Britton in his outing on Tuesday, especially after how poorly he pitched in his first start this season against the Mariners. He’s a guy who has shown positive signs at Triple-A (3-2 with a 3.28 ERA in his last 11 games with the Tides) and his hard work translated into results at the big league level. He’s a guy I’d like to see get another chance with the O’s.

Zach Wilt is the Founding Editor of BaltimoreSportsReport.com and host of the BSR Podcast. He's a loyal Orioles, Ravens and Capitals fan who is obsessed with baseball, loves traveling, In-N-Out Burger and Walt Disney World.

5 Comments

  1. anonymous hippopotamus

    June 19, 2013 at 9:10 am

    Kudos to Zach, he pitched well. The walks are a bit worrisome, but overall he had a great outing.

  2. Dude

    June 19, 2013 at 9:20 am

    good outing, a pick-me-up to his confidence up here. i’d love to see him continue as well as it was the better news of late surrounding the round robin of pitchers from the minors. why did buck pull him in the 5th?

  3. spy

    June 19, 2013 at 9:31 am

    Just one more guy stepping up when needed,,,,,,,,,it doesn’t happen all the time but it was a team effort for Britton,,,,,,,,,,,I mentioned before ‘algebraic equation’ is what is needed these days to make it happen,,,,,,,,,,,the O’s may just do that,,,,,,,,,,,,,,time will tell……………

  4. MGW

    June 19, 2013 at 11:28 am

    Hey, maybe Britton is this year’s Chris Tillman?!?

    The Orioles have been accused of over hyping their prospects – and they have in some cases – but tons of scouts had this guy penciled in as a #2 starter in the bigs.

    Maybe he’s finally put it together.

    • spy

      June 22, 2013 at 9:42 am

      Correct , they do over-hype their pitching prospects,,,,,,,,do you know why ? They also know if we get an ACE we are solid to get to the Series and probably win one or two,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,just think if one of these guys from the recent calvary would have stepped up , Say Britton stepped up and was pitching like a Number one , we wouild be odds on to win a worls series real soon,,,,,,,,,,just dreamin’ I guess………………

      Question , is he a late bloomer , I went back and read some of the prospect comments about him and you are correct , they were pretty darn glaring,,,,,,,,,,,is it too late for him ?