The Orioles have reassigned a handful of relievers to the team’s minor league camp, including veteran lefty reliever Mark Hendrickson. However, the bigger bullpen pitching news related to the Orioles comes out of Red Sox camp where former Birds reliever Matt Albers (11-12, 4.60 ERA, 1.529 WHIP, 5.8 SO/9, 4.3 BB/9 in three seasons with the O’s) won a spot in the Boston pen while Hideki Okajima was sent to the minors.
The Orioles have fared well – very well – against the otherwise steady Okajima (16-8, 3.06 career ERA, 1.239 WHIP, 7.9 SO/9, 3.1 BB/9). Against Baltimore, Okajima is 0-4 with a 5.76 career ERA in 29.2 innings pitched.
Some of Okajima’s memorable meltdowns against the Orioles include the following:
May 14, 2008
Orioles 6 – Red Sox 3
Jay Payton hits a grand slam on Okajima’s second pitch after the reliever entered the game in the seventh inning with the Red Sox leading 3-2.
Okajima: BS, 1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 HR
June 2, 2008
Orioles 6 – Red Sox 3
Okajima enters with a 3-2 lead in the eighth inning and leaves with a 6-3 deficit.
Okajima: 0.2 IP, 4 H, 4 ER
June 10, 2008
Orioles 10 – Red Sox 6
Okajima relieved Josh Beckett after six innings and turned a 6-4 lead into a 7-6 deficit. Said Dave Trembley: “You have to wait him out.”
Okajima: BS, 0.1 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 2 BB
June 30, 2009
Orioles 11 – Red Sox 10
What would an Orioles slugfest be without Okajima? Most of the damage on this day comes when Takashi Saito and Jonathan Papelbon fail to clean up Okajima’s mess in the eighth inning.
Okajima: 0.1 IP, 5 H, 4 ER
April 25, 2010
Orioles 7 – Red Sox 6
Tim Wakefield hands Okajima a 4-1 lead with one runner on base in the seventh inning. The Orioles quickly even up the game with a run-scoring double by Nick Markakis and a two-run homer by Miguel Tejada.
Okajima: BS, 1.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 HR
June 6, 2010
Orioles 4 – Red Sox 3
Nick Markakis’ walk-off single off Okajima in the bottom of the 11th inning wins it for the O’s.
Okajima: L, 1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 2 BB
Albers appeared for the Orioles in at least half of the aforementioned games.
And speaking of the Red Sox, here are three photos from the Orioles’ 4-3 win against Boston on Sunday.
Okajima pitches like he belongs in the Baltimore bullpen (Roar from 34)
Hideki Okajima to minors (Boston Herald)