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Irvin on fire, Kimbrel in a rut

Orioles pitcher Cole Irvin takes career-best scoreless innings streak into game against Arizona, Kimbrel says he has 'got to be better'
Cole Irvin
Posted at 5:58 PM, May 10, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-10 18:47:29-04

BALTIMORE — Cole Irvin hasn’t allowed a run in almost a month. On Friday night he will try to keep his hot streak going as the Orioles return home.

"He is pitching with a ton of confidence and putting all of those scoreless innings together in a row will do that," said O's manager Brandon Hyde.

The Birds' lefty brings a scoreless streak of 20 2/3 consecutive innings into Friday's game against Arizona. That’s the longest such streak of his career. That's zero runs allowed over his past three outings.

"The ability to throw really all of his pitches with confidence and command, that has been a huge separater for me from when he struggled at points last year," said Hyde. "He’s got really good presence on the mound and he is working ahead of hitters these last three or four starts."

"It’s been really awesome watching him. He is filling up the zone. His offspeed, just getting hitters a little out front. Then he will get that heater in on you. It's been pretty awesome to watch," said shortstop Gunnar Henderson.

Irvin has pitched at least 6 1/3 scoreless innings in three straight starts. That hasn’t happened for an O’s pitcher since Fernando Valenzuela did it in 1993.

From a guy going as good as he has ever gone to a guy struggling to find it, closer Criag Kimbrel is in a rut. The 35-year-old veteran has not finished the ninth inning in four out of the last five appearances.

"I’ve got to be better. Four out of my last five outings have been pretty bad. I’ve just got to be better than that," he said. "[I'm] walking guys, throwing pitches where I shouldn’t, giving guys opportunities, not capitalizing on opportunities in at-bats."

Possible fixes?

"It could be laying in the breaking ball more, being less predictable. You name it. Whatever it is, I need to figure it out and be better," said Kimbrel. "I fully expect to."

Follow Shawn Stepner on Twitter @StepnerWMAR and Facebook