Givens on his strong season and getting the band back together

TORONTO - Orioles reliever Mychal Givens had a very solid 2016 season. He is having an even better 2017. Last year, he went 8-2 with an ERA of 3.13 and a WHIP of 1.272. This season, he is 6-0 with a 2.31 ERA and a WHIP of 1.077.

Givens has made dramatic improvement in getting left-handed batters out. Last season, they hit .366 with an OPS of 1.025 against him. This season, those numbers are .174 and .557, respectively. He has even lowered his batting average against versus righty batters from .262 last season to .227 now.

Givens-Throws-Gray.jpg"Just made a slight adjustment, and they have video and I think they found something (against me)," Givens said of his once-poor numbers versus lefty batters. "But I made adjustments during the middle of last season and again this offseason. Just attacking the hitters. Worked my changeup in a little better this season to keep hitters off balance."

Givens takes pride in being a reliever that can get both left and righty batters out.

"Just looking up to Darren O'Day and Brad (Brach)," he said. "They can get both out. That is what Buck (Showalter) always liked about our bullpen. We don't always need to go to a lefty specialist."

Over his past 12 games since May 26, Givens has allowed one run over 15 2/3 innings for an 0.57 ERA. He has had only two games all year where he has given up more than one run and that is in 33 appearances. He leads all major league relievers with six wins.

What have been some of the keys to his solid year?

"I think I've had a little better command of the fastball this year," Givens said. "Just making some improvements. Being around (bullpen coach) Alan Mills, who has helped me since the minor leaguer, has been helpful. He's a good coach that helped a lot of us get here, like Donnie Hart and (Stefan) Crichton."

Givens has also been a factor in that he can impact more than one inning in games. Like when he pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings here on Tuesday night.

"In the minor leagues, they had me throw two innings and that has helped me throwing longer outings in the majors. It helps set up Darren and Brad to close out the game," he added.

The Orioles bullpen will soon have the entire band back together. O'Day is recently back off the disabled list and closer Zach Britton threw a scoreless inning today at Double-A Bowie. He is expected to rejoin the team Wednesday in Milwaukee.

"Hopefully, we have a bullpen back that can be the top bullpen in the league," Givens said. "We still are that, but it was tough to not have Zach for the whole year. Having him back is a big help."

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