May 23, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles relief pitcher Darren O'Day (56) pitches during the ninth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Baltimore Orioles defeated Cleveland Indians 8-4. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Orioles: Bullpen Power

The Baltimore Orioles starting pitching has not been stellar lately, but the bullpen has made up for it.

The starting pitching has an ERA of 4.64 with a win-loss record of 17-18. This has put a lot of pressure on the bullpen, but like years previous, they have withstood the weight on their shoulders and kept their heads above the water even without a true closer this season.

Only starting pitcher Bud Norris has an ERA below four at 3.83. The media-named ace of the staff Chris Tillman has an ERA of 4.69, which is just below Ubaldo Jimenez at a 4.98 ERA.

The starting pitching has been about average, but has not been supported by the offense. So, the bullpen has stepped in to keep games together.

The bullpen has an overall ERA of 3.57 with 16 saves out of 24 chances.

Darren O’Day and Zach Britton both have ERAs less than one — for pitchers with more than 20 innings pitched.

Britton, 0.94 ERA, and O’day, 0.87 ERA, and former Orioles Koji Uehara, 0.87 ERA, stand above all other qualifying relievers in the American League.

Preston Guilmet has pitched very well for the Orioles in just six innings of work with eight strikeouts and no runs allowed.

Despite a few appearances, Brian Matusz has pitched well with a 2.60 ERA.

The bullpen has its off days, but overall, it is what keeps the Orioles in many games when the offense cannot get key hits or if the starting pitching gives up too many runs.

With a few exceptions, the Orioles have received great pitching from the bullpen as a whole. This again is a similar feature to the 2012 playoff season.

A very important number to look at with the starters not pitching very many innings is the total number of innings the bullpen is stacking up.

The Orioles’ bullpen has already pitched 164 innings. It is on pace for another 500+ inning year through 50 games.

The bullpen looks very similar to recent years in taking on a lot of innings to support poor starting pitching.

From time-to-time, the bullpen is going to flex and give up runs if the starting pitching does not improve, but this bullpen is well-coached and can somehow handle the pressure put on it.

Though I trust this bullpen, I would not want to keep testing it to its limits. A few times in 2012 this happened, and the results were not good.

This bullpen is not quite as good as the one in 2012. One reason why – the Orioles do not have a set closer. Without a true closer, the Orioles have to take players away from their natural spots to close out games.

Britton has pitched well in closing situations, but he does not quite seem he is able to pitch consecutive games in order to be a strong closer.

When this is decided, the bullpen may be able to settle itself down enough to push forward its dominance.

Tags: Baltimore Orioles Orioles Pitching

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