Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Orioles 2012: Top of the 8th

It's September and the Baltimore Orioles are tied for first place in the American League East.  No one could possibly have seen this coming.  The Birds have built their baffling 76-59 record largely by winning close games.  You don't do that without strong performances by the back-end of the bullpen.

Photo via Wikipedia

Pedro Strop has been the setup man for the O's this year, essentially in charge of locking down the eighth inning to preserve the save opportunity for the closer.  He has been absolutely stellar all season, compiling a 1.83 ERA over 59 appearances.  He was acquired via trade with the Rangers last August.  It was closer Jim Johnson who made it to the All-Star Game but one could argue Strop has had the better year.

Photo via The Great Orioles Autograph Project

The Orioles acquired lefty Joe Saunders in a trade with Arizona on August 26th.  Since then, he's had two starts for the Birds.  The first was awful, allowing 6 earned runs over 5 1/3 against the White Sox.  The second was brilliant: no runs over 6 1/3 against the Blue Jays.  Every game will count here in the home stretch.  Hopefully, Saunders can hold up his end.

Photo via The Great Orioles Autograph Project

The Brewers dropped lefty Randy Wolf on August 22nd.  The O's picked him up on the 31st.  He's only had one appearance since but it was a good one.  When Chris Tillman went out of the game on September 2nd with an injury (not a good thing at all), Wolf got the bullpen call for long relief.  He pitched 3 1/3 inning allowing one run and got the win against the Yankees.

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