Coulombe on Webb's save: "It fired me up"

A lot can change in a span of a few days for bullpen pitchers. It has for the Orioles bullpen.

Heading into the Yankees series, the O’s ‘pen was coming off a weekend with two blown leads in the ninth. And that ‘pen had been scored on in 13 of the previous 16 games, pitching to an ERA of 5.37 in that span.

Then Cionel Pérez, Yennier Cano and Danny Coulombe combined for 3 1/3 scoreless to close out Monday’s 2-0 win over New York. And Keegan Akin and Jacob Webb combined for two scoreless in last night’s 4-2 victory.

Webb got his first save with the Orioles, getting four outs, three via a strikeout, on three different pitches Tuesday night.

He ended the eighth fanning Aaron Judge on a changeup and began the ninth with strikeouts of Giancarlo Stanton on a sweeper and of Anthony Rizzo looking at a 95 mph fastball. He got a groundout to end the game.

Manager Brandon Hyde said he likes the toughness of the guys in his bullpen and feels we’ve seen it in this series.

“Had Webby (warming) up three times the night before," said Hyde. "Then it’s, 'Here’s Aaron Judge and would you please go back out there for the ninth?' Didn’t really give him a layup."

Coulombe, who picked up his third career save Monday, said the bullpen pitchers were pumped when Webb got his fifth last night.

“It fired me up,” said Coulombe. “He, the first month, has really been searching. He hasn’t been quite himself and it was definitely getting better. And last night that was the Jacob Webb that we need and we are used to seeing. Last year he was so good for us down the stretch and that cemented it. He’s back.  

“It fired him up, too. And you love to see a guy who wants to pitch in those situations. He’s a dog out there. Loved watching him.”

Last night Webb recorded his first save June 15, 2023 pitching for the Angels at Texas. Coulombe just happened to be watching that game on the O’s team flight heading from Baltimore to Chicago for a series with the Cubs.

“The first time I had seen Jacob Webb pitch was last year against the Rangers with the Angels," Coulombe said. "He closed that game out. He came in with a really tough situation and he dominated the eventual champions. I remember thinking that guy was impressive. Then we got him.

“It’s awesome to watch guys step up. What Webby and Akin did yesterday was awesome. You know, we all have high standards for ourselves and we think that even when guys are down we know the next guy is going to step up.”

Pitching out of a bullpen can be a roller coaster ride, up one day, down the next. Just like the last several days for the Orioles.

“Absolutely," Coulombe said. "And that is why you have to be really more process-oriented than results-oriented. Are you pounding the zone? Are you controlling what you can control? Because you really can’t control much that happens after you release the ball. We are a very process-oriented bullpen and that’s been really helpful.

“Our mindset as a bullpen is control the controllables and be aggressive on every pitch. That is our mindset."

And they all realize that during some weeks, the bullpen pitchers may get used often when the team plays in a series of close games. They expect that to happen during a 162-game season. Hyde has to decide when is too much usage while at the same time trying to extract every win they can when they can.

“It is a balancing act. I don’t envy his job. He does an amazing job," Coulombe said. "You want to win every game, especially with a division opponent. And we do have a propensity to play close games."

Hyde said the bullpen pitchers stepping up in this series not only got them excited, but the whole team, too.

“When guys can step up, maybe in a different role and pick up the pieces, that gives everybody a boost," he said. "And you know your guys are pulling for each other. I like our bullpen, kind of the makeup of our bullpen. We have some toughness down there and those guys are pulling for each other. Bunch of good personalities and great to have Cionel back there, his personality and the energy he brings."

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