The Orioles left Boston on a 5 game winning streak, ending with a sweep of the Red Sox. Baltimore’s bullpen had not allowed but 1 run in the last 20 innings pitched.
So what problem could there possibly be with the bullpen? Heck even Chris Davis proved he could be a solid reliever!
The day has been looming all season, where the Orioles would need the bullpen to pitch a significant amount of innings. There needs to be boatloads of credit given to the O’s starters who seemingly work into the 7th inning every appearance. When they don’t however, or when a long inning game occurs, the Orioles lack a valuable position…
A LONG RELIEVER!
It seems like nearly all of the O’s relievers have been a closer at some point in their careers (Johnson, Gregg, Ayala, Lindstrom) and the rest are simply one inning guys whom Buck Showalter doesn’t want to throw for long periods of time. The guy who could throw in multiple innings is lefty Troy Patton, however Showalter has been using him more and more of a situational/ one inning guy due to the fact that his is the sole lefty in the O’s bullpen.
The series in Boston exemplified a gut-it-out attitude to win games. Which was great, but the Orioles really could have used a guy like Boston used Rich Hill to eat up four to five innings of work. Instead the O’s used all of their reliever for two innings because of lack of stamina.
Due to that fact, the Orioles needed to send down starter Tommy Hunter and catcher Ronny Paulino to Triple A because they had options available. Hunter did not need the demotion even though it is not a huge surprise. Paulino was a bit surprising because of the fact that he has been hitting the ball so well thus far.
The Orioles called up Stu Pomeranz and Jason Berken to fill in game one against the Rangers. Pomeranz pitched three shutout innings, while Berken struggled tremendously. The fielding behind him didn’t help but Berken is obviously still not where he was two seasons ago.
The Orioles can’t expect their starters to go into the seventh every appearance. They also can’t afford to use ¾ of the bullpen every time a starter goes under 5 innings. Whether its Berken, Brad Bergesen, Tommy Hunter or someone else the O’s have to make the smart move in order to save arms in the bullpen.
The Bullpen has been lights out so far this season, and if overworked may have undesirable injuries.
——ROSTER MOVE: Orioles to Activate LHP Zach Phillips and send down RHP Jason Berken—–
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