Relaxed Mickolio now putting up impressive numbers

In a brief shot with the Orioles last year, nine games, reliever Kam Mickolio pitched to an ERA of 5.87.

Through eight games and 11 1/3 innings with the team this year, the 25-year-old Mickolio has worked to an ERA of 0.79. He has allowed just five hits with 13 strikeouts.

Right-handed batters hit .263 against him but lefty hitters are 0 for 19 with eight strikeouts vs. the product of Wolf Point, Montana.

He worked 9 2/3 shutout innings over seven appearances before allowing a run Tuesday at Minnesota.

Mickolio now looks like an important piece to a future Orioles' bullpen.

He says the reason he has pitched better this year is mostly because he is just more at ease now in the Majors.

"There is definitely more of a comfort level this year. The coaches and staff have made me feel like I belong here. That has helped that comfort level. Plus there are a lot of young guys here now, we kind of went through the minors together.

"Plus I've been consistent with my mechanics and delivery. That's kind of led to me being able to repeat my pitches and throw more strikes."

Mickolio has put up those impressive numbers over three different stints with the O's in 2009 which meant he had to deal with going back to the minors a couple of times this year.

"It was a little disappointing. I felt like I did good enough to stick. But I also know that is part of the game."

With his 6'9" height, his now smoother delivery and a fastball that at times touches 97, some feel Mickolio has late-inning relief duties in his future.

He's open to that.

"For sure, yeah. Anywhere that gets me in the game, I'm comfortable with. But late inning would be something to look forward to."

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