Thursday, June 14, 2012

Orioles 2012: Top of the 4th

To this point, I have not needed to discuss the Orioles' bullpen at all.  The starters have done a reasonably good job this year of working deep into games.  The past nine games have been excellent for the Birds: 7-2 overall, tallying series wins over the Red Sox and Phillies and a sweep of the Pirates.  In each game but one, the starter managed to pitch at least through the fourth inning.  Unfortunately, lefty Brian Matusz could only manage two full innings against Boston on June 7th, allowing five runs, four of them earned.

Even in a game that was out of reach early, the bullpen got the job done just as they have all season.  The Baltimore relievers have been spectacular across the board, possessing a 2.40 ERA overall - best in baseball.  Perhaps the most thankless job in the game is that of the long reliever.  You sit on the bench, hoping for the sake of the team that you don't get the call to pitch.  You'll probably only get the opportunity when the starter has fallen apart, as Matusz did.  You're responsible for damage control - eat up innings so as to preserve the arms of the other, more appreciated relievers.

Photo via The Great Orioles Autograph Project

On June 7th, it was Miguel Gonzalez who got the call.  The Mexican righty did his part.  In just his second appearance for the team, he pitched four solid innings, allowing only a single earned run over that span.  But like I said, it's a thankless job.  Two days later, he was shipped to the minors to make room for a fifth starter. 

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