You look at the Orioles and they don’t have a starting pitcher in the top 25 in the American League–in earned run average. They have one—Chris Tillman at 14th—in the top 30 in innings pitched, and Tillman is the only one in the top 30 in quality starts. The starting rotation as a whole is 12th in the league in quality starts.

And the Baltimore Orioles have a six game league in the American League East with the third best record in the entire league, the best run differential not in the AL West. And they’ve done it making 76 pitching transactions since the opening of the season. That’s as of this morning’s sunrise. And get how it’s been managed: for all those transactions, only two teams, the Nationals and Mariners, have used fewer pitchers this season, while only one team, the Angels, have used fewer starters, a position that might change because of injuries on the Angels staff.

Every afternoon, Buck Showalter, pitching coach Dave Wallace, his assistant Dom Chiti, the travelling secretary and one or two members from Dan Duquette’s front office meet to map out emergencies and longterm possibilities. They get someone from their triple-A team in Norfolk and their double-A team in Bowie on a conference call, and they run down potential physical and over usage problems. They go over the last flight they can get from where the minor league teams are playing so they can make the Orioles game—wherever—by game time, should something happen pregame. Then they go through the next day’s flights. In case.

“Tillman is the only starter who’s ever thrown 200 innings in a season,” says Showalter. “So we had to protect innings earlier in the year and try to make sure that from mid-August to the end of the season they’re healthy and firing. There have been a couple of times when we’ve asked Miguel Gonzalez to go back to triple-A, for less work, a little rest, and told him he’d be back here pitching in eight days, and because he cares, he bought into it. We moved Bud Norris to Norfolk over the All-star Break.”