Bullpen Huge Part of Early Success for Baltimore Orioles

By Michael Terrill
Bullpen Huge Part of Early Success for Baltimore Orioles
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Orioles have posted a 19-13 record with above .500 records at home and on the road. They are also on a two-game winning streak, and only a game and half back of the Boston Red Sox in the American League East division. There is no question Baltimore’s bullpen is a huge part of the team’s early success during the 2013 Major League Baseball season.

The Orioles offense has been excellent, while the starting rotation has been mediocre. However, nothing compares to what the bullpen has been able to accomplish through the first 32 games of the season.

Baltimore’s bullpen is first in the AL in wins (7), first in saves (13), fourth in earned run average (2.79), fourth in innings pitched (100) and third in opponent’s batting average (.215). If they could somehow improve their strikeout numbers (89) and save percentage (65.0), then they would be the most dominant group of relievers in the league.

Closer Jim Johnson has been outstanding in his 16 appearances this year. The right-hander is 1-2 with a team-high 1.13 ERA, 11 saves in 11 save opportunities, 14 strikeouts and a .196 opponent’s batting average. The 29-year-old led all of baseball with 51 saves in 2012, three more than MLB Delivery Man of the Year Fernando Rodney of the Tampa Bay Rays. The good news is he is on pace to repeat last year’s success.

Right-hander Darren O’Day is another reliever who is walking down the same successful path as last season. The 30-year-old is 2-0 with a 1.65 ERA, 16 strikeouts, four holds, a .179 opponent’s batting average and one save in three save opportunities.

Left-hander Brian Matusz is off to the best start to a season in his five years in the big leagues. The 26-year-old has posted a 1-0 record with a 2.84 ERA, 13 strikeouts, a team-high five holds and a .143 opponent’s batting average in 12 2/3 innings.

There are other members of the bullpen that has posted solid numbers in little over a month in 2013. However, the three relievers specifically mentioned are a big reason why the bullpen is considered one of the best in baseball.

Michael Terrill is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelTerrill, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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