By Eduardo A. Encina
The Baltimore Sun
3:36 PM PDT, October 11, 2012
NEW YORK -- It’s a common trend in the postseason, but through the Orioles’ first four playoff games, starting pitching has dominated.
In four postseason games, the Orioles starters own a 1.82 ERA (5 ER in 24 2/3 IP), the second best mark of all playoff teams to the Tigers’ 1.75 ERA. Orioles starters have 16 strikeouts and 5 walks over 19 innings.
No Orioles starter has allowed more than two earned runs this postseason, and the Orioles are a combined two outs away from getting quality starts in all four games – wild-card winner Joe Saunders and ALDS Game 1 starter Jason Hammel each threw 5 2/3 innings.
Likewise, the Yankees starting pitchers own a 2.63 ERA with a 15 strikeouts and three walks over 24 innings.
“If you see how it’s evolved, the teams that are playing this time of the year have good pitching,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “It’s a given. You may have some teams that hit a lot of home runs, some teams that steal a lot of bases but the one common denominator for the teams that play this time of year, they catch the baseball and they pitch. I think it’s more about pitching than it is about hitters struggling.”
Orioles starters Wei-Yin Chen and Miguel Gonzalez were able to pitch on extra rest, and Jason Hammel made his first start since Sept. 11 in ALDS Game 1, but Showalter said pitchers have an inherent advantage.
“I think there’s a little more rest involved,” Showalter said. “This time of the year you don’t worry about giving a guy five, six, seven days off because they’re a lot more in sync mechanically. They’ve pitched so many innings and have had so many times out there, so many reps that rest only does them well. You see a little crisper fastball, a little sharper breaking ball. Also, I think pitchers pitch every fifth days, our bullpen guys maybe every other day, hitters hit and play every day, and this time of year I think pitchers have a little advantage.”
Here’s how the Orioles’ starters have done this postseason.
ALWC Game – Joe Saunders: 5 2/3 IP, 6 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 4 K, 77 pitches/46 strikes
ALDS Game 1 -- Jason Hammel: 5 2/3 IP, 4 H, 2 R (2 ER), 4 BB, 5 K, 112 pitches/70 strikes.
ALDS Game 2 -- Wei-Yin Chen: 6 1/3 IP, 8 H, 2 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 3 K, 112 pitches/77 strikes
ALDS Game 3 – Miguel Gonzalez: 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 8 K, 99 pitches/69 strikes
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