Baltimore Orioles: Is the bullpen more susceptible than we think?

Some of the twitter chatter after yesterday’s 7-3 loss to New York amongst Baltimore Orioles fan seemed to indicate this is what we were afraid of; they aren’t that good. I even saw a few comments suggesting that fans learned a valuable lesson about how much worse the Orioles’ bullpen is than we thought. Let’s be frank; it wasn’t a good outing for the bullpen, specifically Darren O’Day. However you have to revert to the track record after a game like this. And that’s pretty good.

Wade Miley got the start, and really set the tone for a very strange game. Miley didn’t give up a hit until the fifth inning, yet he walked seven batters. New York actually loaded the bases on walks at one point, but Miley pitched out of it. At the end of the day, he was in line to be the winning pitcher. Miley’s line: 5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 7 BB, 5 K.

The Orioles took the lead in the last of the second when Trey Mancini grounded into a force out which scored a run. Later in the inning they ran the lead to 2-0 on Hardy’s RBI-single. Trumbo would add an RBI-single of his own in the fifth, and the O’s seemed to be in control at 3-0.

However New York wasn’t about to be outdone on this day. Torreyes’ two-RBI triple in the sixth cut the lead to 3-2, and Judge’s solo home run would tie the game at three in the eighth. But the story of this game came in the ninth, when O’Day allowed four runs to cross the plate. Now while all of those runs were earned, it’s important to note that one did come on a throwing error. However the fact remains that the bullpen overall was shaky in this game, which is something we don’t normally see.

O’Day felt that some of his earlier pitches were borderline strike calls, and quite frankly I might tend to agree with him there. However he also indicated that he needed to re-adjust to the zone, which he was unable to do (quote courtesy of Steve Melewski, MASNsports):

Yeah, I threw some good pitches early in the outing. They were just pitcher’s pitches and I couldn’t make the adjustment to get back into the zone to get strikes called. So I overadjusted on some pitches. If you put three guys on base, bad things are usually going to happen. Just wasn’t a good outing. Pretty bad.

Throughout the entire series I felt that the strike zone was erratic at best. That’s not to say that the umpiring was bad, it was just a bit erratic in terms of balls and strikes. However throughout the entire series, New York did a better job of adjusting to that than did the Orioles. Whereas NY pitchers would try to hit spots that the umpire as calling as strikes, Orioles’ pitchers would try to hit what they felt were strikes.

Nevertheless, should fans panic about this game? Were the Orioles just unmasked and shown to be pretenders instead of contenders? Hardly. You can’t say that they’re either at this point in the season. You’re going to have games like this, and really all you can do is move onto the next game and work on things. If you want further proof, would you as a fan not give the ball to Darren O’Day any longer?

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