Baltimore Orioles’ Bullpen Must be Better

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The Baltimore Orioles‘ bullpen must be better if they are going to have any kind of a successful season. The big problem with them in the 2021 season was inconsistency. There were times the bullpen would be spot-on; other times they would be horrendous. In a forgetful 2021, the Oriole bullpen had the worst ERA, 5.70, with 34 losses and 26 saves—last in the American league. They pitched 666 2/3 innings with 296 walks and 637 strikeouts. The bullpen also allowed 109 home runs and used 37 different pitchers.

Inexperienced and Over-Used

We all know that when you are inexperienced and the bullpen is overused, it leads to many issues. These are not just performance issues, but it can also be or lead to mental and physical issue for a young player. We saw that with all the relief pitchers this team used. They were forced into games early on and never really given a chance to develop. That happens when the starting staff is also inexperienced and only able to last four to five innings per game.

They Have Some Guys

The bullpen is anyone’s guess right now, but they do have some guys. Cole Sulser, Dillon Tate, and Tyler Wells seem to be the primary pitchers for the 2022 season. Both pitching coach Chris Holt and assistant pitching coach Darren Holmes are spending the abbreviated spring training working with these guys and many others to have them ready for the season’s start.

Cole Sulser

Cole Sulser was the most consistent reliever in the Orioles’ bullpen last year. He had eight saves while only blowing three in 63 innings. He won five games and had 73 strikeouts, and also brings a high strikeout rate to go along with a low number of walks and getting ground ball outs. He is expected to be named the 2022 closer. He also showed the confidence closers need.

Dillion Tate

Dillon Tate is another reliever the team needs to count on. He had three saves last year. While he never won a game (six losses), he pitched effectively. Considered one of the top prospects for the 2015 MLB draft, it took him four years to make it to the big leagues. After a trade to Baltimore, he was moved to the bullpen to see how he would do. He has a sinker pitch that will get the ground outs needed and his changeup will keep the hitters in check. He looks to be the set-up pitcher and if Sulser struggles, or is hurt he could move into the closer’s role.

Tyler Wells

Tyler Wells is another pitcher who should see plenty of action in 2022. He has seen action in spring training as a starter. However, that could be on a limited basis to help ease the starting pitching workload and possibly build strength in his arm in readiness for the long 2022 season. He certainly had manager Bandon Hyde’s trust last year out of the bullpen. Last year he had four saves with 65 strikeouts in 57 innings. He ended the season as the unofficial closer. However, the issue for Wells is staying healthy. Inflammation in his right shoulder landed him on the IL on two different occasions last year.

How They Will Perform

The Baltimore Orioles’ bullpen must be better if they are to get out of the AL East cellar. There is potential for them. They have some underrated arms like the pitchers mentioned above, but they also have some good pitchers in Paul Fry and Tanner Scott. Both need to forget last season and concentrate on providing better control with their pitches. They are currently the only two left-handed bullpen arms on the roster.

Consistency Needed

The bottom line is that the Baltimore Orioles’ bullpen must be better. It comes down to just one thing that all bullpens want and need, consistency. The coaching staff needs to finalize the bullpen, have a plan of attack, and execute it. A more organized bullpen and plan of attack will ease the chaos and calm the bullpen pitchers. This should lead to better, more consistent pitching and give the Orioles the success they are seeking.

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Players Mentioned:

Cole Sulser, Dillon Tate, Tyler WellsChris HoltDarren Holmes, Paul FryTanner Scott