CLEVELAND -- The Orioles entered Thursday's series finale against the Indians having thrown eight quality starts in their last nine games, with the young trio of Brad Bergesen, Brian Matusz and Jake Arrieta combining for five of those.
"I felt all along this is how it should be going," pitching coach Rick Kranitz said of the rotation resurgence. "This is certainly what they're capable of doing. There's no doubt about it. Each guy has picked it up, and it's like handing the baton to the next, challenging each other and getting it done. It's fun to watch."
It's also a far cry from the trio's first two starts out of the All-Star break, in which Matusz pitched to a 12.15 ERA (nine earned runs, 6 2/3 innings) with Arrieta's 9.64 ERA (10 earned runs, 9 1/3 innings) and Bergesen's 7.15 mark (nine earned runs, 11 1/3 innings) not far behind.
Since Aug. 3 -- the date manager Buck Showalter took over -- the Orioles' only non-quality start was Arrieta's outing Tuesday, in which Showalter let the rookie pitch out of a five-run fourth inning to go six.
Showalter later called that start a "growth moment" and has made it no secret that he will be evaluating the O's current crop of youngsters to determine their place in the organization's future. Fortunately for most of the O's, Showalter isn't basing his assessment on the past.
"I'm not stat watching, I'm watching people between the lines," he said.
"It's an opportunity for me that may not be here next year. I kind of hope it isn't as much. And I have to take advantage of the looks I'm getting."