Baltimore Orioles: Should the O’s become a bullpen team?

Ubaldo Jimenez and the Baltimore Orioles were fine in the first inning yesterday. Jimenez allowed one base runner but faced the minimum of three hitters due to a double-play. However that was the pinacle of the day for both him and the Birds, as Chicago quickly took the upper hand. Jimenez’s line; 3.2 IP, 11 H, 6 R, 1 BB, 2 K.

Jimenez wasn’t fooling anyone for nary any of his start. However on the flip side, the Orioles couldn’t muster much of anything. When a Jones double is pretty much the lone offensive highlight for the day, you know you’re in trouble. It doesn’t matter if your starter gives up six runs, 100, or even just one – you still aren’t going to win.

Chicago put forth three doubles in the top of the second, the third of which was Happ’s two-RBI double. That gave them a 2-0 lead. Before the end of the inning Heyward and Zobrist would add RBI-singles, and the O’s trailed 4-0. Two innings later Bryant’s two-run homer did Jimenez in for the day, and broke the game wide open at 6-0.

Now if there’s a silver lining on this game, it’s that the Orioles’ bullpen really stepped up. Unfortunately that can’t and won’t always be the case, because if your starters are only lasting 3.2 innings or so, someone’s arm in the ‘pen might fall off. But Hart, Givens, and Britton were all incredibly solid yesterday afternoon. O’Day came in for the ninth and gave up a two-run homer to Rizzo, but other than that the bullpen was very good.

MASN’s Gary Thorne has mentioned this on the air a few times, however should the Orioles consider becoming a bullpen-oriented team? That’s not something we’ve seen for the most part at the big league level almost ever, however there are many in baseball who think that’s where the industry’s going.

The bullpen guys are recording outs, and that’s a fact. Look at this weekend for instance; Oriole starters weren’t fooling anyone at all. However once Showalter would go to the bullpen, the bleeding would stop. The damage was already done of course, but the bleeding would seemingly stop.

Relievers of course aren’t designed to pitch long games (although it’s certainly possible that some of these guys could be “stretched out” next spring). So the idea of course would be that you actually start someone like Givens, Castro, or Hart, and after threee innings or so bring in the likes of Jimenez, Tillman, or someone else. Needless to say, it’s an interesting idea. But do the Orioles not have nothing to lose by considering and trying it?

The O’s will now open a four-game series at home with Texas starting tonight. Chris Tillman will be on the mound for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Texas’ Andrew Cashner. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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