Unexpected Help for the Baltimore Orioles

Orioles high-fiving in the bullpen
(Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Unexpected help for the Baltimore Orioles has come from their bullpen, who have been the mainstay of this team since last season. This year they have continued their dominance with some surprise help from Yennier Cano and Danny Coulombe.

Injuries Early

The season started with Mychal Givens and Dillon Tate, two of their top relievers, on the injured list. Givens, who signed a contract in December to return to the Orioles, has yet to pitch this season due to left knee inflammation. He is, however, getting closer to making his debut.

Tate has not pitched this season either, out with a flexor strain. He has done some rehab games and should be back very soon. Both will be a welcome sight when they return.

Next Man Up

The bullpen and Manager Brandon Hyde have adopted that next-man-up and perform attitude. They have received surprise help from both Cano and Coulombe. Interestingly, both were members of Minnesota Twins last year. Cano came to Baltimore in the Jorge Lopez trade. Coulombe was traded to the Orioles in March.

Cano has not given up a run in 19 2/3 innings. On top of that, he has only given up four hits in those innings. He has three saves and six holds and has been consistent with the ground-ball outs. Cano also tied an Orioles record for retiring 24 straight batters to start the year.

Coulombe has pitched 14 1/3 innings and is holding a 3.14 ERA. His slider and sweeper pitches have been effective, and he has become their primary left-hand specialist in the bullpen.

Nobody Saw this Coming

Help for the Baltimore Orioles from Cano or Coulombe is something nobody saw coming. Cano struggled in his brief time with the Twins last season. He held an ERA of 9.22 before being traded and was atrocious in three appearances for the Orioles last season. An ERA of 18.69 ERA earned him a trip to Triple-A. In spring training, he worked with pitching coaches Darren Holmes and Chris Holt on his form, pitch selection, and confidence. The work has paid off.

Coulombe, at 33, has been with six major league organizations and has been somewhat effective as a long reliever and set-up man. Even though he has never had a major league save, he has been consistent with holding runners on base and keeping the lead for the teams he has pitched for.

Confident Bullpen

The combination of these two pitchers and the continued emergence of Felix Bautista, AL Reliever of the Month for April, have the Orioles feeling confident about the state of their bullpen. They know they can use Cano and Coulombe to hold any leads, then bring in Bautista to get the save and win for this team.

Winning Record

Unexpected help for the Baltimore Orioles from their bullpen has the team with a winning record so far in this first quarter of the season. If the Orioles bullpen can continue to put up positive performances and with their powerful offense and a winning attitude—and having fun and confidence—it’s hard to imagine the Orioles not being in the thick of a pennant race come October.

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James Marshall

James Marshall

Jim Marshall has lived in Phoenix, AZ for 50 years. He is an avid baseball fan, but enjoys all of Arizona's local sports teams, including Diamondbacks, Suns, Cardinals and Coyotes. In addition to the four major sports, he closely follows the Phoenix Mercury, Arizona Rattlers and Arizona State Sun Devils. Jim's passion for baseball continues beyond the field as he is an avid collector of baseball memorabilia. His favorite athlete of all time is Baseball Hall of Fame member Harmon Killebrew. In addition to watching, reading and talking about sports, he takes time to travel and appreciate the great state of Arizona with his lovely wife, Patti.

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