Baltimore Rotation Hits its First Rough Patch, As Expected


Our weekly look at each of the Red Sox' opponents in the AL East surveys the Baltimore Orioles, whose young staff has come back to Earth after a scorching start.

Nobody expected the O's pitching staff to keep up its early pace. Baltimore allowed one run in each of its first four games of the season and then had a shutout against high-powered Texas last weekend. Since then, opponents are averaging seven runs a game and the young arms that impressed so early have become hittable.

The bloom came off the rose when Jake Arrieta gave up eight runs in 3 1/3 innings two Saturdays ago. Chris Tillman was then rocked in a start in Yankee Stadium that lasted just 1 2/3 innings. The promising Zack Britton had his first non-quality start Friday at Cleveland, one day before Jeremy Guthrie, the one veteran in the rotation, had his first of that variety, as well.

Overall, a team that has had pitching problems for over a decade has seen its ERA soar to 4.63. That's saying something, considering where that mark was a week into the year.

There's promise in this group, but there will be some growing pains along the way, and all those that had the Orioles tabbed for 90-plus wins after their extremely fast start should expect some bumps in the road.

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