The O’s bullpen has been mighty indeed (draft update)

The Orioles have now won nine extra-innings games in a row for the first time in team history. Here is what Matt Wieters said after yesterday’s game when asked the key reason for the streak:

“You know, it’s the bullpen. The bullpen is doing a great job of just keeping teams where they are at. If you keep the other team from scoring, eventually someone will get the run. The bullpen has been great keeping us in games.”

If there is one segment of this team that has been rock solid consistently from opening day through yesterday, it is that bullpen. The Orioles bullpen has been among the best and maybe is the best in baseball.

The bullpen ERA of 2.37 leads the majors, and the Orioles lead the American League in bullpen wins with 14 and saves with 22.

Top bullpen ERAs in Major League Baseball:
2.37 - Orioles
2.44 - Pittsburgh
2.64 - Cincinnati
2.80 - Texas
2.82 - New York Yankees

Every pitcher is having a solid to very solid to great year:

* Luis Ayala: Has a 1.93 ERA and 1.07 WHIP.
* Dana Eveland: Has allowed two runs over his last 8 2/3 innings.
* Kevin Gregg: Has an ERA of 1.32 over his past 12 games.
* Jim Johnson: Has 18 saves in 19 chances with 0.71 WHIP.
* Darren O’Day: Is 4-0 with an ERA of 1.78 and 0.79 WHIP.
* Troy Patton: Has 1.08 WHIP and 3.77 ERA.
* Pedro Strop: Has 1.48 ERA and .111 average vs. right-handed batters.

Bullpen pitchers can be quite volatile with their performance and the Orioles have caught them all pretty pitching well at once. O’Day’s injury problems of last year seem to be over and Ayala has picked up where he left off with the Yankees. Gregg has been better since early in the year and Johnson picked up where he left off in 2011 closing games.

But these guys have not just been pitching on upswing, they’ve been better than that. Over the weekend, with back-to-back close games against Philly, the Orioles ‘pen gave up just one run on eight hits over 14 innings with just one walk to eight strikeouts.

Just as Wieters said, the bullpen pitchers kept the Philly hitters in check, getting key outs and stranding runners in scoring position, while waiting for the offense to get the big hit to end it.

I’ve pointed out this stat before: The Orioles are the only team in the AL to not have a loss this year when leading after seven and eight innings. They are 23-0 when up after seven and 24-0 when ahead after eight.

This year, the ‘pen is mightier here in Baltimore and it’s been a big reason the club is eight games over .500 this deep into the year.

Draft update: The Orioles have not yet officially announced any draft pick signings, but some of that news should be coming shortly. The club’s third-round pick, high school shortstop Adrian Marin, recently announced his signing via his Twitter page.

The O’s reportedly are close to signing these four also, I have learned:

* Eighth-round pick Torsten Boss, an outfielder from Michigan State.
* 10th-round pick Joel Hutter, a shortstop from Dallas Baptist.
* 23rd-round pick Gene Escat, a RHP from Fresno State.
* 25th-round pick Alexander “Creede” Simpson, an infielder from Auburn.

Keys All-Stars: Dylan Bundy today was named to play in the California League/Carolina League All-Star game at Winston-Salem, N.C., on June 17. Two of his Single-A Frederick Keys teammates, Ty Kelly and Jeremy Nowak ,will join him.

Bundy is 2-1 with an ERA of 3.00 in his first three Frederick starts. He has an ERA of 1.00 in 11 starts between Delmarva and Frederick.

Kelly has been selected as a starter at third base. He is fifth in the league in batting at .321 and third with a .426 OBP. Nowak, whose .316 batting average ranks seventh in the Carolina League, will be making his first-ever All-Star appearance.

By the way, Bundy’s next start is set for Thursday at home for Frederick against Lynchburg. It should be a good test, as he will face the same team he just pitched against Friday. In that game, he gave up two doubles, a homer and two runs over five innings.

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