This was the Zach Britton Baltimore’s been waiting for all season.
The young lefthander had the Yankees completely fooled with a filthy two-seamer (Ken Singleton and Michael Kay kept calling it a sinker, but Brooks has it as a two-seamer) that racked up an absurd -3.6007 linear weights, complemented by a superb slider, and hurling seven shutout innings — yielding only four hits, walking one and striking out five — that led the Orioles to a 2-0 shutout of the Yankees, for Baltimore’s season-high sixth straight victory (and the Yankees’ sixth time being shutout in 2011).
Britton was so good he didn’t even allow the Yankees more than one baserunner in any inning, not allowing a man to reach second base. The outing marked Britton’s second-best by WPA on the 2011 season, and all you can do is tip your cap to the talented youngster, especially after the Yankees trounced him a month ago.
The good news for the Bombers is that Bartolo Colon had his best outing since returning from the DL in early July, throwing 7 2/3 innings of two-run ball — good enough to win most days. On the postgame Joe Girardi (as well as Kenny and Kay) said that part of Bart’s success in this game was the return of his two-seamer — something we’ve been hoping to see for a while now — but per PitchFX he only threw it 10 times, and I’m not really sure whether Girardi or the pitch classification system is right here. It seemed like Bart threw more than 10 two-seamers, but perhaps those were sliders (which, per Brooks, he threw 13 of). In any event, however he went about doing it, it was great to see the return of Bart from the first half of the season.
The Yanks and O’s are back at it in a couple of hours, and hopefully Ivan Nova can snap this mini two-game slide, although to do so the Yankee bats will have to come alive against Brian Matusz — something they haven’t exactly shown much of a knack for doing in the past.