If I told you that I would give you five-hundred-forty-five and a third innings pitched, go twenty-nine and nine in one run games and post an ERA of around 3.00, you’d probably take that without looking twice. I know I would take it. That is what the Baltimore Orioles bullpen posted last year. In case you wondered if almost five-hundred and fifty innings is a lot for a bullpen, it is. That was forth most in all of MLB. No playoff team came close to that figure.
Okay, so that hung in there and did well, what does that mean for 2013? Basically it means that the O’s know they have a bullpen that will go out there and give it their all and hang in the tough contests. Hopefully that will allow the starters to feel free to log a few more innings themselves to keep the pen rested for the stretch run. At least if young rookie Dylan Bundy shows to be half as good as he looks so far, that number should come down a little.
I’m not going to say they could repeat the good performance if they had to log that many innings again. I also am not betting against it though. As with all bullpens the strength of the group rests greatly on the success and stability of their closer. The Orioles closer Jim Johnson closed 51 contests last year and only gave up three home-runs. Suffice it to say, Johnson is a solid man in the closer spot. The group might shift a few names around here and there but as long as he stays in place, they should be in fine shape for 2013.