Orioles LHP Bruce Zimmermann Looking To Establish Himself As Reliable Rotation Arm

Bruce Zimmermann walked out to the mound at Camden Yards the night before the Orioles’ home opener and soaked in his surroundings.

He took a moment to imagine the festive atmosphere and realized he had to keep his emotions in check while he was on the mound the next day.

The crafty 6-foot-1, 215-pound left-hander became just the fourth Maryland native to start a home opener for the Orioles and the first to do so at Camden Yards.

Zimmermann responded by throwing four scoreless innings in a 2-0 victory against the Milwaukee Brewers. He allowed three hits with four strikeouts and two walks.

“It’s pretty hard to describe, to be honest with you — even better than I could have imagined it going,” Zimmermann said. “I mean, it was perfect weather, a sold-out crowd, and all of my family that could make it was here. Friends that I’m really close with, friends that I might have played years ago with came out. The messages I received were all incredibly special and meant a lot to me.”

Less than a week after beating the Bewers, Zimmermann was even better against the New York Yankees and didn’t allow a run in five innings during a 5-0 win. Baltimore earned its first series win against the Yankees since 2020. Zimmermann gave up just four hits with six strikeouts and two walks.

“It feels good,” Zimmermann said after the Yankees game. “I think that was always the plan, move forward with the short spring training and everything. As you move forward, to keep creeping that pitch count up as far as it will go and keep building off each start right now. But it feels good to get another inning further under my belt, and hopefully, it continues.”

Zimmermann, a native of Woodstock, Md., and a Loyola Blakefield graduate, entered the season as the No. 4 starter in the rotation. However, he has been the Orioles’ most consistent pitcher in the early going, throwing a career-high nine straight scoreless innings to begin the year. He also holds a 3.86 career ERA (20 earned runs in 46.2 innings pitched) at Camden Yards.

“Bruce Zimmermann is extremely competitive,” manager Brandon Hyde said.

After graduating from Loyola, Zimmermann spent his freshman and sophomore years of college at Towson University before transferring to Division II Mount Olive in North Carolina for his junior and senior years.

He went 9-2 with a 3.18 ERA as the Friday starter during his senior year at Mount Olive. He also had 129 strikeouts, which tied the university’s single-season record originally set by former major league pitcher Carter Capps.

Zimmermann was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the fifth round of the 2017 MLB Draft and spent time across three levels with the Braves before being dealt to the Orioles. Baltimore acquired Zimmermann in a July 2018 trade in exchange for Kevin Gausman and Darren O’Day.

Zimmermann was ranked as the Orioles No. 15 prospect by Baseball America entering the 2021 season. He earned his first-career win on April 4, 2021, in Boston, but spent time on the 60-day injured list with left biceps tendinitis and a right ankle sprain. He ended up making 14 appearances and 13 starts, posting a 5.04 ERA in 64.1 innings.

Zimmermann then earned a spot in the rotation this spring. Being able to start the Orioles’ home opener was a dream come true. Now, he’s looking to maintain that consistency and become a reliable arm in the rotation for years to come.

Manufacturing Runs, Cutting Out Miscues

The Orioles had gone 7-for-83 with runners in scoring position before they managed three consecutive hits in the eighth inning in a 5-0 win against the Yankees April 17.

However, different problems surfaced in the series opener against the Oakland Athletics the following night.

The Orioles (3-7) allowed four unearned runs in the sixth after third baseman Ramón Urías and second baseman Rougned Odor committed errors in the 5-1 loss.

“Yeah, we just made a couple of mistakes there that cost us,” Hyde said after the game. “It’s going to happen. We’re going to make errors. We’re having a tough time covering up offensively a little bit right now.”

Baltimore was 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position against the A’s and fell to 0-4 on the road. The Orioles also struggled to score again and have managed just two runs or fewer in six of 10 games this season.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Baltimore Orioles

Todd Karpovich

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