Britton ready to bounce back
Orioles lefty Zach Britton isn’t shy about admitting it’s been a rough past few days. The 23-year-old Britton, who allowed nine runs (six earned) and recorded just one out in Saturday night’s game in New York, said Wednesday he was finally able to get over the disastrous outing –his second straight rough start — after spending two hours talking with pitching coach Rick Adair on Tuesday afternoon.
“I was able to kind of breathe a little bit [after that],” said Britton, who has also benefited from the advice and support of his teammates, most notably closer Kevin Gregg and shortstop J.J. Hardy.
“I was scared to talk to [manager Buck Showalter], I was like, ‘Is he mad at me?’,” said Britton, who has allowed 17 runs (13 earned) and recorded just three outs over his last two starts.”Obviously I know that’s not the case, but you have bad outings like that in our situation, we haven’t been playing well and I go out there and hurt our bullpen. Obviously the reason [reliever Jason] Berken got sent down was the way I pitched. So that’s tough to get over everything. As a starting pitcher what you do affects the whole team. Whether you like it or not, that’s the way it works.”
What hasn’t worked for Britton lately has been trying to solely rely on his sinker, which has lost some of the movement he had earlier this year, allowing opposing teams to capitalize on it. Catcher Matt Wieters and Britton have talked about him pitching more to certain locations, rather than relying on the natural action his ball was getting earlier in the year.
“Some people have a little hiccup, for me it’s kind of been a big struggle. Two outings that were like, ‘Oh my gosh, what the heck happened?,” said Britton, whose ERA (4.56) has jumped over a run in that span.
“It’s more mental. The stuff is not as great as it was at the beginning of the season, but no one’s is at this point. It’s about making adjustments…I haven’t done that. I’ve been able to get by [before these two starts], but now I got to make the adjustments.”
Besides being more of a pitcher, Britton said he’s starting to put added emphasis on preparing in between starts, leaning on the more experienced arms to find a routine he’s comfortable with and doing something every day with a specific purpose.
“When things are going well at the beginning of the season, I feel like you kind of get comfortable,” said Britton, who jumped out to 5-1 with a 2.63 ERA in his first six career starts. “This game has a way of humbling you. It’s kind of like, ‘Ok, you are not as good as you think you are. You still got stuff to work on.’ I think it’s going to make me better.”