August 30, 2012; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Zach Britton (53) pitches in the second inning against the Chicago White Sox at Baltimore Orioles game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Due a 12:35 pm start time, a lot of people probably missed today's game. Working stiffs who have spend their days answering to the man rather than sitting in the sunshine or at home on the couch didn't get to see what turned out to be a very special start from Zach Britton.
Not only did Britton strike out ten batters, which is a career high, but nine of those were of the swinging variety. All told, Britton got 21 swings and misses today, an incredible 20.4% of his pitches. The White Sox hitters simply couldn't make good contact with his pitches.
Britton faced thirty batters today, and in addition to striking out ten of them, he also induced ground balls from ten more. Eight of those grounders were recorded as outs, two went for hits. The final ten batters hit the ball in the air, split evenly between hits and outs at five apiece. I think it's safe to say that a good recipe for success is to have 2/3 of the batters you face either strike out or hit the ball on the ground.
The most pitches that Britton threw in any one inning was twenty. He did that in the second when the White Sox scored their lone run. His pitch count by inning: 1 - 16, 2 - 20, 3 - 15, 4 - 11, 5 - 12, 6 - 8, 7 - 9, 8 - 12. All told he threw 103 pitches with nearly 74% of them being strikes. No wonder he didn't walk anyone.
Today was Britton's third start since being recalled from the minors and he, much like Chris Tillman before him, has looked like an entirely different pitcher. And today he took it to a new level. I can't wait to see him try and top this one.