Birds House: Extra Innings: Pass me the Maalox

Written by on September 26, 2012 in Orioles, Sports - No comments

Although he’s not starting anymore, Brian Matusz has proved himself a valuable asset in the Orioles’ bullpen. Photo by Shawn Levin

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If I’ve learned one thing about the Baltimore Orioles this year, it’s that their games are not for the faint of heart. Unfortunately, I cannot bill the Orioles for my heartburn medication.

Baltimore has posted a 16-2 record in extra inning games this year, and has also gone 27-9 in one-run games, and you can thank their bullpen for that.

Jim Johnson is having a monster year. There’s no other way to say it. He just notched his 48 save and has an ERA of 2.60 this year.

Considering he was a candidate to be in the starting rotation this preseason, I’d say that was a good move to leave him where he is.

Luis Ayala has also chipped in out of the pen. Ayala has thrown the most innings of the relievers, going 72.1 strong innings and posting an ERA of 2.74. Not bad for the veteran reliever.

Darren O’Day has been one of the best in relief this year. His 2.35 ERA is fantastic, as is his 7-1 record. If those numbers aren’t good enough for you, perhaps his 0.954 WHIP will change your mind.

Troy Patton has been a nice surprise for the O’s. In his 54 innings pitched, he has posted a 2.50 ERA.

Even Matt Lindstrom pitched well for the O’s before he was traded. Lindstrom posted a 2.72 ERA this year while in Baltimore, the best of his career.

Pedro Strop has done an excellent job as the setup man this year. The hard throwing righty has gone 5-2 on the year with a 2.33 ERA.

While Johnson was out earlier in the season, Strop stepped up and earned three saves to help keep the Orioles moving in the right direction. Now if he can only figure out those Yankees….

Other pitchers have helped chip in out of the bullpen as well.  Brian Matusz was thought to be a starter for the O’s, but his struggles had him sent to the bullpen where he has done a great job in key matchup situations.

If Baltimore wants to make the playoffs and advance, their bullpen needs to keep doing what they’ve done all year: shut down opposing teams late in games, and also give their team a chance to fight back at the end. If they continue to do that, Maalox could become my new drink of choice.

by Andy Mindzak

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