Cionel Pérez is starting to regain his 2022 form in O's bullpen

Lefty reliever Cionel Pérez, who posted a 1.40 ERA and 1.162 WHIP for the Orioles last year, believes his 2023 season is now back on track.

The latest example of that potential was his scoreless two innings in last night's win over the Los Angeles Angels. He fanned two over the seventh and eighth innings, retiring six batters on 19 pitches. He lowered his ERA to 3.78 in 19 games this year. 

“Felt really good. Think the results in this last month have been a lot better. Slowly but surely been feeling really good,” Pérez said today in the Baltimore clubhouse through team interpreter Brandon Quinones.

“Just been about consistent hard work,” he said. “It’s a long season, so you are bound to run into a couple of things here and there. But as long as we continue working hard, working with the pitching coaches to get things right, those things start to pay off little by little.”

His command has gotten better as the season has gone along. Over his last nine games, his ERA is 2.25. In April, he gave up an opponent batting average of .419 with an OPS of 1.068. In May, those numbers are .174/.469.

“Without a doubt I would say locating pitches is probably the most important thing for any pitcher," he said. "So, I would say slowly we have been getting back to that spot. Been working on a few things mechanically such as release point and arm slot and arm angle and the overall tempo of how I am pitching.”

Pérez, who was acquired by the Orioles off waivers from Cincinnati on Nov. 24, 2021, is now getting closer to the strikeout and walk rates he pitched to last year. His K rate now is 7.6, down from his 2022 rate of 8.6 per nine innings. His walk rate is up a bit still, at 4.9 from 3.3. But he has issued just one walk in his last seven games (6 2/3 IP) after allowing eight walks in his first 12 games (10.0 IP).

Things are clearly trending in a positive direction.

"The goal was to maintain the success from last season, not change much. But sometimes without noticing, things can change here and there, and that is where the pitching coaches come in and we have been working really hard to try and maintain the level of the success from last year,” he said.

Of course, he set a pretty high bar last year. A very high bar to meet.

“It is difficult to repeat last year’s success, but it’s not impossible,” said Pérez.

He is enjoying the camaraderie of his bullpen teammates – guys that let their personality show among the group. And on the mound, they are currently sporting the second-best ‘pen ERA in the majors at 2.94, trailing only Seattle at 2.83.

“Been impressive and been really exciting to be a part of that group," said Pérez. "Just a great group, and we work to have fun every day, and a great group that is having success together. We have a variety of personalities out there, but we are a close-knit unit. We look to have fun and support each other."

Baltimore's 2.29 reliever ERA at home ranks as the second-best in the majors behind Toronto at 2.24. O's relievers have 12 wins this season, tied with Arizona and the New York Yankees for second in MLB, trailing Cincinnati and Miami (13). The O's are second in MLB with 188 strikeouts from the 'pen, trailing only Kansas City (198).

Orioles updates on Mateo, Givens, Tate and more
Ortiz in tonight's Orioles lineup

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to