One concern some fans have expressed here is that if Orioles starters continue to struggle to get deep into games, it will eventually have an impact on a bullpen that will have to pitch more innings.
Manager Buck Showalter has discounted the notion that the O’s bullpen is having to throw too many innings a couple of times during recent days and he feels that is not an issue yet.
It certainly may not be, but the bullpen, and not just Jim Johnson, has struggled in recent games.
The bullpen pitchers have combined to give up 15 earned runs over the last 15 1/3 innings. Going back further, the bullpen ERA is 7.94 on the six games of this homestand, 5.45 over the last 10 games and has been scored on in seven of the 10 games.
During that same 10-game stretch, the starters’ ERA is 6.49, so the pitching all around has been shaky during this stretch where the Orioles are 2-8.
What a surprise. It usually is about the pitching.
The Orioles bullpen has pitched 145 1/3 innings on the season and that is the sixth-most in the American League.
The bullpen was scored on in 14 of 27 April games and has given up at least one run in 12 of 17 games in May. That sounds like a lot - more than we might have thought - but that could be a night when just a run was given up.
Now Chris Tillman and Freddy Garcia have given the Orioles back-to-back quality starts the past two games, so maybe some things will begin to turn in a better direction.
Any bullpen seems to function at its best when the starter goes deep and the manager can use relievers in specific roles. For the Orioles right now, the bullpen - and not just Johnson - is struggling.