Orioles Bullpen Woes Are Familiar, Memorable
May 14, 2014
The Orioles have six blown saves thus far in 2014, the eighth-most in the majors, but until Tuesday they had not lost any of the 13 games in which Tommy Hunter faced a save situation. That changed thanks to a Miguel Cabrera two-out. three-run homer for the Tigers. Victor Martinez then turned the knife by parking one on Eutaw Street, handing the Orioles a dispiriting 4-1 loss.
The outcome didn't surprise me. Hunter bypassed warnings about playing with fire and outright juggled the stuff this season. On Tuesday, he got torched.
As I mulled the loss, I realized that I couldn't be a closer because I don't have a short memory. My memory bank is loaded with bad bullpen recollections. Here, in no particular order, is what I came up with:
- Armando Benitez plunking Tino Martinez immediately following a Bernie Williams home run in the Bronx. Chaos ensues.
- Armando Benitez in the 1997 ALCS. Two losses on two key homers, including the series-ending, extra-inning homer by Tony Fernandez in Game 6. I was there.
- Jim Johnson in Game 1 of the 2012 ALDS. Five earned runs turn a 2-2 tie into a 5-2 loss. Again, I was there.
- Terry Mathews getting booed before even reaching the Camden Yards mound during the 1997 ALDS. Yup, I was at that one.
- The Gregg Olson meltdown on Turn Back the Clock Day in 1991. He trashed his entire uniform afterward. I saw that one, too.
- Jim Johnson leading the league in saves and blown saves in 2013.
- The Mother's Day Massacre in Boston.
- The Danys Baez experience.
- All that bullpen spending headed into the 2007 season only to have the second-worst bullpen ERA in the majors.
- The newly acquired Michael Gonzalez blowing two saves in the first four games of the 2010 season.
- The sudden fall of the once-promising Pedro Strop.
Most of my bullpen memories are bad ones. My appreciation for that 2012 bullpen continues to grow.