NEW YORK — After his team was on the wrong end of an offensive onslaught Wednesday afternoon at Yankee Stadium, Baltimore Orioles Manager Buck Showalter said he wanted to “let the smoke clear” before deciding whether left-hander Zach Britton would make his next scheduled start on Tuesday.
The 12-3 pounding the Orioles took from the Yankees through the raindrops was particularly stinging. The Orioles had a chance for their first three-game series sweep in the Bronx since 1986 while cutting the Yankees lead in the AL East to 41 / 2 games.
“The tough thing is there was a game there to be won,” Showalter said of the loss, which snapped the Orioles’ three-game winning streak. “There really was.”
Britton wouldn’t make it out of a seven-run third inning, lasting just 22 / 3 innings — his shortest outing of the season — and allowing seven earned runs on seven hits. The seven earned runs allowed tied a career high; he allowed seven earned in two-thirds of an inning in a 10-3 loss to the Red Sox on July 8, 2011 in Boston.
After four big league starts this season since being recalled from Class AAA Norfolk on July 17, Britton has struggled. He has pitched six innings just once and owns an 8.35 ERA. In three career starts at Yankee Stadium, Britton has allowed 20 runs (17 earned runs) over eight innings for an ERA of 19.13.
Asked after the game whether he thought his rotation spot was in jeopardy, he admitted he was concerned.
“Yeah you try not to think about it, but we’re in the hunt, and I understand what I have to do to be at this level, and I’m not getting it done right now,” Britton said. “So I gotta either do something, or somebody else is going to come up and find a way to do the job.
“And that’s the way it should be,” he added. “And I understand that. I’ve been kind of in this situation before, and I gotta do something about it and start earning my keep, so to say.”
Britton (1-1) struggled with his command from the beginning. He said he struggled getting comfortable with his grip on a damp afternoon. Showalter saw too many of his breaking pitches hanging in the strike zone.
“[I] think [I was] just overthinking things at times,” Britton said. “Not being in a good rhythm on the mound, a good pace of the game. You see when the guys were getting on today, when [pitching coach Rick Adair] came out, we kind of talked, ‘Hey, let’s pick up the pace here a little bit.’ I think just overthinking things a little bit rather than just being aggressive with my stuff right now.”
Britton quickly fell behind in the first inning on Curtis Granderson’s solo homer and an Andruw Jones sacrifice fly. The Yankees added two more in the second on run-scoring singles by Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher to make the score 4-1.
In the seventh, the Yankees (61-43) scored all seven of their runs with two outs in the inning to take an 11-1 lead on the Orioles (55-50).
— Baltimore Sun