With last night’s win, the Orioles have now won 100 straight regular season games when leading after seven innings. Their last loss was on Aug. 8, 2011. It is the second-longest streak for any club during the expansion era (since 1961), trailing just the 1998-99 Yankees at 116 games.
No doubt it is impressive for the entire team, but especially for the bullpen to have held those leads.
Buck Showalter said the streak was impressive, but figured most of his players didn’t even know about it. He may have been right about that. Darren O’Day, a big part of that streak, wasn’t aware of it until last night.
“You know what, I hadn’t even heard it mentioned among the guys, but I think it’s pretty cool in retrospect when you can sit back and say a lead is pretty safe,” O’Day said. “That means some guys are down there doing their jobs. That is incredible consistency and I guess you figure Jim (Johnson) was involved in most of those. Pretty good compliment to the guy at the back end of the bullpen.”
For sure, it is.
Since Sept. 7, 2011, Johnson leads the major leagues with 66 saves. In that span, Craig Kimbrel has 54, Fernando Rodney 50, Rafael Soriano 49 and Jason Motte 48. Johnson has converted 95.7 percent of his opportunities (66 of 69), the best percentage of any closer with at least 10 saves since Sept. 7, 2011.
“You know what I wonder, how many times in that 100 games were we one pitch away from screwing it up? Bet there was quite a few of them,” O’Day said. “Our guys, we might not have the flashiest names in the bullpen, but it’s guys who enjoy pitching in tight situations and Buck certainly knows how to deploy us.”
By the way, some fans have asked about this stat. It does not include the postseason and it simply means the O’s won a game in which they led after seven innings. Some have brought up the game last July 27 where Oakland scored six in the ninth to beat Jim Johnson and the Orioles 14-8.
That day, Oakland actually led 8-6 after seven innings. The O’s scored three in the eighth to lead 9-8 before losing it in the ninth.
By the way, the Orioles were 75-1 last season when leading after eight innings. That was the one.