Coulombe's strong season continues as 'pen tries to overcome Bautista's injury

As they continue to navigate life in the Orioles bullpen for now without closer Félix Bautista, the Orioles relievers are going to do their best to overcome this loss. But they know this pitcher can’t be easily replaced – if at all.

“I think it’s going to give some guys an opportunity to step up,” said bullpen lefty Danny Coulombe in an interview last night on the Orioles Radio Network. “Obviously you cannot replace him, but we are going to have to step up and move on. We’re going to have to.

“Not only is Bautista a great pitcher, but a great guy too. We love him in the clubhouse. Hard to lose a guy with the year he was having. He is my vote for Cy Young – at least in the top five.”

But maybe the bullpen is better positioned now to withstand this injury than it would have been earlier in the season. Coulombe has returned from the injured list. DL Hall has arrived. Yennier Cano recently threw 11 straight scoreless appearances. Jacob Webb has an ERA of 1.86 as an Oriole. Cionel Pérez has not allowed an earned run his last 12 outings. Shintaro Fujinami has thrown four straight scoreless games.

“Yeah, absolutely,” said Coulombe of the ‘pen’s recent performance. “We’re going to do the best we can and just take it pitch-by-pitch and day-by-day and hopefully keep having success.”

Coulombe is sure having success on the O’s watch. Acquired from Minnesota in late March, he is 3-1 with a 2.70 ERA in 49 games. He has been getting out both left and right-handed batters. Lefty hitters have an OPS of .575 against him while right-handers have an OPS of .613.

“I love it here. I love the guys, I love this clubhouse," he said. "For me, the success has come from one, the coaches have put me in a great position to succeed. And two, we have great catchers. Great catchers who know these hitters and who we trust completely. I think I’ve just been having more fun than ever in the clubhouse and playing this year. And I feel that my stuff is probably now the best it’s been in my career and it’s fun to pitch when that is true."

He uses his breaking pitches to both left and righty hitters. Going with pitches he has big confidence in.

“They preach that. Your breaking stuff is so good, so trust it. Trust it. That is such a breath of fresh air. I think that is why guys come here from other places and have success. They always preach positive reinforcement and that has been so positive for a lot of us," Coulombe said. 

O's win series opener: The Orioles beat the Chicago White Sox 9-0 last night as right-hander Grayson Rodriguez gave up one hit over six scoreless. Rodriguez threw 96 pitches as the O's recorded their ninth shutout of the year. They have five shutouts their past 29 games.

Over his last eight starts, since returning to the Orioles' roster from Triple-A July 17, Rodriguez has an ERA of 2.83.

The O's bullpen has an ERA of 1.10 the last six games and 1.67 the last 10.

The Orioles threw a four-pitcher, two-hitter as Chicago went 2-for-28 at-bat.

The Orioles (82-49) clinched a second straight winning record for the first time since 2012-2014.

The Orioles have now gone 82 straight series without being swept. The next closest streak is 24 in a row by the Seattle Mariners. 


Orioles lineup vs. White Sox at Camden Yards
Notes on Frazier's thumb, Voth's return from elbow...

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