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O’s lefty Zach Britton shuts down Rangers, moves to 2-0

Apr 10, 2011, 8:54 AM EDT

Zach Britton AP

Early season injuries to Justin Duchscherer and Brian Matusz have caused the Orioles only a minor headache. Why? Because young left-hander Zach Britton probably wouldn’t have opened the year in the major leagues otherwise.

Britton, 23, spun another gem on Saturday night in the second half of a doubleheader against the hot-hitting Rangers, tossing 7.2 scoreless innings while allowing just four hits. He struck out two, induced 15 groundballs, and moved to 2-0 on the young season.

Britton fanned six batters in his first start last week against the Rays, surrendering only three hits and just one earned run over six frames. His ERA now sits at 0.66 and his WHIP is a cool 0.95.

Baseball America ranked Britton as the game’s 28th most promising prospect this winter after he posted a 2.70 ERA and 124 strikeouts in 153.1 innings last season between Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk.

With good velocity on his fastball and a sharp slider-changeup arsenal, Britton has the appearance of a pitcher who should now be in the big leagues for good. He’ll face the Yankees this Thursday at Yankee Stadium.

UPDATE: Not wanting to expose Britton to Yankee Stadium just yet, the Orioles have pushed the lefty’s next start back one day. He’ll start at Camden Yards against the Indians on Friday.

  1. gt929 - Apr 10, 2011 at 10:08 AM

    I watched most of that game and Britton was brilliant. I think it’s great that Baltimore and Toronto are looking to be really competitive in the AL East this year. But, I’d like to see a follow-up story “Matt Harrison shuts down Orioles, moves to 2-0,” cuz I’m feeling that east coast bias paranoia creeping in!

  2. joeflaccosunibrow - Apr 10, 2011 at 1:40 PM

    It was actually the first game of the double header. It makes it more impressive because it was not against players who were tired from the first game.

    The Orioles need to worry because after Britton, there is no starting pitcher depth in their minors.

    • gt929 - Apr 10, 2011 at 2:32 PM

      Not sure if that ‘not tired’ theory holds water since the Rangers scored 13 in the second game, but it was still very impressive.

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