What’s Going On With the Baltimore Orioles’ Bullpen?
The Baltimore Orioles’ bullpen has fallen into a rut as of late
The Baltimore Orioles‘ pitching staff has reached a new level of ineffectiveness, falling apart in multiple games against the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays over the past week. In Baltimore’s last five games, the team has surrendered a combined 54 runs, with the majority of fingers pointed at a bullpen that has seemed at a loss to keep the team in games recently.
Of the 54 runs given up by Orioles pitchers in the past five games, 37 have been charged to a relief pitcher. It’s troubling, but not entirely unreasonable considering the circumstances. Manager Brandon Hyde has taken plenty of heat for the way the Orioles’ bullpen has been managed over this stretch, as fans and analysts who’ve spent years around the organization compare Hyde’s success with relievers to that of O’s former manager Buck Showalter.
However, The Athletic’s Dan Connolly mentions in his most recent column (subscription required) that this comparison is unfair. Showalter had several established big-league relievers on his staff throughout his tenure, whereas Hyde continues to shuffle through unproven arms the Orioles have acquired through waiver claims and minor league free agency.
Alongside the lack of established talent, Hyde’s bullpen has suffered a number of injuries this season, heightening the strain on talent and making consistent success that much more difficult to achieve. Prevelant among the injuries is Tyler Wells, the Orioles’ towering 6’8″ right-hander, who was placed on the 10-day injured list on July 23rd with right wrist tendinitis.
Hyde commented on the lack of consistency in the Orioles’ bullpen, according to Nathan Ruiz of The Baltimore Sun:
"“I think everybody’s getting an opportunity to pitch, and it’s all they could really ask for,” Hyde said. “You pitch well, you’re gonna pitch when it’s close. All of our guys have had their moments of good streaks and bad streaks, and that’s really been the thing for three years here, just the inconsistencies of the guys that have been here, not being able to be consistent in the strike zone, be able to get big outs when it matters.[“]"
The pitcher who has gotten the worst of this streak of poor pitching from the Orioles’ bullpen is Paul Fry, who was rumored just over a week ago to be one of the most sought-after trade candidates on the roster. Fry has made three relief appearances in the team’s last five games, allowing nine earned runs while recording just two outs, ballooning his season-long ERA from 3.24 to 5.10 in that span.
As Baltimore continues through its rebuild, the team will look to gain more reliability from its relievers.