Baltimore Orioles

Baltimore Orioles Fantasy Baseball Daily Bullpen Updates and Closer Depth Chart

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BALBrad BrachDarren O'DayMychal GivensZach Britton6/24/17
(DL)Zach Britton

Previous updates:

June 24, 2017
Baltimore Orioles — Darren O’Day returned from the DL with a scoreless eighth inning in a blowout loss. The Orioles need bullpen reinforcements badly, and O’Day should immediately return to his setup role behind Brad Brach. Zach Britton pitched a scoreless inning in a rehab relief assignment and looks to be on track to return in early July.

Updated hierarchy: Brach | O’Day | Givens.

June 23, 2017
Baltimore Orioles – Injured closer Zach Britton struck out two hitters in an inning of work Thursday night as he works his way back to the team. This comes after another scoreless inning earlier this week to begin his rehab assignment. A scout called Britton’s outing on Thursday “easy and effortless,” and that his velocity was in the low to mid-90s. Reports say Britton is targeting a July 5 return.

Hierarchy remains: Brach | Givens | Castro.

June 21, 2017
Baltimore Orioles – With Mike Wright on the DL, it seems the Orioles have settled on Miguel Castro as their 7th inning man for the time being. Castro got the win yesterday after an impressive outing that saw him wriggle out of a bases loaded, 1-out jam.

Updated hierarchy: Brach | Givens | Castro.

June 10, 2017
Baltimore Orioles — Darren O’Day has been placed on the DL with a right shoulder strain, marking the second time in a month that he’s been shut down. In Zach Britton’s absence, Brad Brach has settled into the closer’s role, putting up seven straight scoreless appearances, and Mychal Givens has been excellent as well. Behind those two, however, lie several question marks. Lefty Donnie Hart was sent to the minors, leaving the seventh inning to the likes of Edwin Jackson, Mike Wright, and lefty Richard Bleier. Jackson may end up in long relief, and Bleier is the only lefty remaining in the pen, so we’ll tab Wright for now.

Updated hierarchy: Brach | Givens | Wright.

May 17, 2017
Baltimore Orioles — Brad Brach’s struggles continued on Tuesday as he gave up a grand slam in the 7th inning to blow a 7-4 lead. It was the biggest moment of the game at the time, so Brach’s usage there makes sense, but what does Buck Showalter do now with a closer that saw his ERA move to 4.05 after allowing an earned run in a third straight appearance? Showalter was mum on the situation after Tuesday’s 13-inning win, but don’t be shocked if Darren O’Day gets a turn as closer soon with Brach faltering.

Hierarchy remains: Brach | O’Day | Givens.

May 11, 2017
Baltimore Orioles — The Orioles are preparing to be without Zach Britton through the All-Star break, but Brad Brach’s hold on the interim job is getting ever more tenuous. Even before last night’s demoralizing blown save, Buck Showalter was talking about using a committee of Brach, Darren O’Day, Mychal Givens, and lefthander Donnie Hart. We’ll believe that when we see it, but Brach owners should be concerned.

Hierarchy remains: Brach | O’Day | Givens.

May 7, 2017
Baltimore Orioles — Brad Brach got the day off yesterday and Darren O’Day recorded his second save of the season.  Hopefully you were paying attention to the Vulture Save Watch and stole a save in your fantasy leagues.

Hierarchy remains: Brach | O’Day | Givens.

May 6, 2017
Baltimore Orioles — A source tells Baltimore Baseball that Zach Britton is returning to the disabled list with his strained left forearm. Brad Brach will resume the closer role while Britton heals.

Updated hierarchy: Brach | O’Day | Givens.

May 3, 2017
Baltimore Orioles – Zach Britton was activated from the DL Tuesday and immediately got some work, albeit facing a 5-2 deficit. Despite a walk and a hit, Britton benefitted from a bizarre triple play to get out of the inning.

Hierarchy remains: Britton | Brach | O’Day.

May 2, 2017
Baltimore Orioles – Zach Britton will be activated from the disabled list today. Brad Brach, who picked up five saves in his absence, will slide back to his set-up role alongside Darren O’Day.

Updated hierarchy: Britton | Brach | O’Day.

May 1, 2017
Baltimore Orioles – The Orioles flipped the script last night, using Brad Brach in the 8th and Darren O’Day in the 9th, but the latter didn’t respond particularly well, loading the bases before being lifted for Donnie Hart, who promptly gave up the game-tying single. The team went on to win in extras, though, and Zach Britton could potentially return today, though Buck Showalter isn’t saying for sure yet.

Hierarchy remains: Brach | O’Day | Givens.

April 29, 2017
Baltimore Orioles — The clock finally struck midnight for Brad Brach, with his first three earned runs of the season coming as part of a massive 10-run Yankee comeback. Orioles fans can be comforted by the imminent return of Zach Britton (Sunday or Tuesday), and cautioned by the two walks and a home run he gave up in last night’s rehab outing against the legendary Akron Rubber Ducks. #AffordableFamilyFun!

Hierarchy remains: Brach | O’Day | Givens.

April 23, 2017
Baltimore Orioles – Brad Brach got the day off, so Darren O’Day nailed down his first save of the season. HOPE YOU’VE BEEN READING YOUR VULTURE SAVE WATCH.

Hierarchy remains: Brach | O’Day | Givens.

April 22, 2017
Baltimore Orioles — Brad Brach continued his impressive start to the season, picking up his third save with a perfect ninth inning. Zach Britton says he feels good and is ready to start throwing, but there’s no need to rush him back, thanks to Brach. Expect Darren O’Day to get any save opportunity today, though; Brach has pitched three in a row.

Hierarchy remains:  Brach | O’Day | Givens.

April 20, 2017
Baltimore Orioles — It took only nine pitches for Brad Brach to lock down the first Orioles save chance since Zach Britton’s injury. Britton will have an MRI on Friday.

Hierarchy remains:  Brach | O’Day | Givens.

April 16, 2017
Baltimore Orioles — Brad Brach should get the Baltimore save chances while Zach Britton spends time on the 10-day DL with soreness in his left forearm.

Updated hierarchy:  Brach | O’Day | Givens.

April 9, 2017
Baltimore Orioles – Zach Britton’s ankle is fine, and he was able to record his 52nd straight save in an Orioles’ comeback win on Saturday.  Britton will likely get the day off Sunday after appearing in the past two games, but Orioles’ fans and fantasy owners can stop worrying about his ankle for now.

Hierarchy remains: Britton | Brach | O’Day.

April 8, 2017
Baltimore Orioles – Zach Britton suffered an injury scare when he rolled his ankle fielding a comebacker, but stayed in the game and converted his second save of the year. Manager Buck Showalter said the injury didn’t look bad, but they will see how it feels “when the adrenaline wears off.” Britton is outstanding when healthy, having converted 51 straight saves, but if he needs some time off, Brad Brach has three clean 8th innings to his resume so far this season.

Hierarchy remains: Britton | Brach | O’Day.

April 4, 2017
Baltimore Orioles – Darren O’Day has been suffering from the flu and was unavailable on Monday. The Orioles have today off, but if O’Day isn’t healthy by Wednesday, Buck Showalter says he might go to the disabled list.

Updated hierarchy: Britton | Brach | O’Day.

February 27, 2017
Baltimore Orioles – The Orioles once again project to have one of the best bullpens in baseball thanks to dominant closer Zach Britton, who dealt with oblique soreness last week. You may see the O’s practice a little caution with Darren O’Day, who spent time on the DL last season, but he will once again be a top setup guy. Brad Brach, who is already 1-0 against AL East opponents this year, will handle the seventh. Plenty of reliability, at least on paper, for the Baltimore bullpen entering 2017.

Starting 2017 hierarchy: Britton | O’Day | Brach.
Holds candidates: O’Day, Brach.

September 19, 2016
Baltimore Orioles – Darren O’Day returned to the Orioles bullpen yesterday, surrendering a solo home run in an inning of work. He’ll need to get up to speed quickly if he’s going to be a source for holds in the season’s final two weeks, but he’s been such a reliable guy in recent years that we’re not discounting the possibility.

Hierarchy remains: Britton | Brach | Givens. 

August 25, 2016
Baltimore Orioles — Freakin’ Zach Britton gave up an earned run on Wednesday night, just like he did on April 30. What a bum.

Hierarchy remains: Britton | Brach | Givens.

August 24, 2016
Baltimore Orioles – Vance Worley picked up his first career save after pitching the final three innings in an 8-1 Baltimore victory. Worley does not factor into the Orioles’ usual late-inning plans.

Hierarchy remains: Britton | Brach | Givens.

August 14, 2016
Baltimore Orioles – Darren O’Day has been placed on the disabled list with a strained right shoulder.  Manager Buck Showalter is optimistic O’Day will return in two weeks, and mentioned Mychal Givens and Vance Worley as members of the bullpen who would see more prominent roles with O’Day out.  We will slide Givens in behind Britton and Brach for now.

Updated hierarchy: Britton | Brach | Givens.

August 12, 2016
Baltimore Orioles – Zach Britton on Thursday picked up his 35th straight save this season, pitching a scoreless ninth. Scoreless has been a bit of a theme for Britton lately, as the closer hasn’t allowed an earned run in 39 straight appearances, the longest streak since earned runs started being kept as a stat, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Hierarchy remains: Britton | O’Day | Brach.

August 8, 2016
Baltimore Orioles – Ubaldo Jimenez picked up a three-inning save in a blowout yesterday. Did you have him in your lineup? Send us a screenshot as proof and we’ll give you Closer Monkey Premium for a year!

Hierarchy remains: Britton | O’Day | Brach.

August 3, 2016
Baltimore Orioles — Darren O’Day retired one man with the bases loaded to finish off the eighth with a three-run lead. After Baltimore scored, he stuck around to pick up the save Zach Britton wasn’t eligible to earn.

Hierarchy remains: Britton | O’Day | Brach.

July 25, 2016
Baltimore Orioles — Set-up man Darren O’Day returned from the disabled list yesterday and was immediately thrust into a high-leverage situation, as he was summoned in the 9th inning of a tie game. O’Day struck out all three hitters he faced and earned the win when the Orioles walked off. Initially, we thought he might be eased back into his role, but after a performance like that — and with Brad Brach allowing runs in back to back games this weekend — we’re going to slot O’Day right back into his old position behind Zach Britton.

Updated hierarchy: Britton | O’Day | Brach.

July 24, 2016
Baltimore Orioles — Darren O’Day could be activated from the disabled list today or tomorrow.  The Orioles will be happy to have him back in their bullpen and O’Day will be happy to get away from Double-A Bowie and probably the worst jersey he has ever worn.

Hierarchy remains: Britton |  Brach | Givens.

June 17, 2016
Baltimore Orioles — Darren O’Day’s recovery from a strained hamstring is going slower than expected. He can come off of the DL this weekend, but he still hasn’t thrown off a mound. There’s no timetable for his return.

Hierarchy remains: Britton |  Brach | Givens.

June 9, 2016
Baltimore Orioles — Up four in the eighth, the Orioles called on Brad Brach with two on and one out. After Brach escaped, he went back out and finished the ninth to earn a unique save.

Hierarchy remains: Britton |  Brach | Givens.

June 4, 2016
Baltimore Orioles — Zach Britton pitched a scoreless ninth inning to pick up his 16th save, but the Orioles will have to make do without setup man Darren O’Day, who was placed on the 15-day DL with a strained hamstring. The Orioles hope that he can return in the minimum 15 days. In the meantime, Mychal Givens, who picked up the win last night, should see more late-inning opportunities alongside Brad Brach.

Updated hierarchy: Britton |  Brach | Givens.

May 15, 2016
Baltimore Orioles — Brad Brach recorded his first save of the season last night.  Brach came on for the eighth inning with the Orioles up 2, and stayed on for the ninth after the Orioles added five more runs in the bottom of the eighth.  Brach is still behind Britton and O’Day when it comes to saves for the Orioles.

Hierarchy remains: Britton | O’Day | Brach.

May 6, 2016
Baltimore Orioles — Zach Britton made his long-awaited return to the Orioles bullpen Thursday night, entering the game with two outs in the ninth inning of a scoreless game. He managed to end the inning on a pickoff, then retired three of the four hitters he faced in the tenth, earning the win. Darren O’Day did nice work in Britton’s absence, but all should be back to normal in Baltimore’s bullpen.

Hierarchy remains: Britton | O’Day | Brach.

May 4, 2016
Baltimore Orioles – Sure enough, Darren O’Day picked up the save on Tuesday while Zach Britton continues to nurse a sprained ankle. The good news for Britton owners is that the timeline for his return is sometime this week.

Hierarchy remains: Britton | O’Day | Brach.

May 2, 2016
Baltimore Orioles – We won’t be convinced of this until it actually happens, but a Baltimore Sun beat writer is speculating that Darren O’Day might not be the man who gets saves in Zach Britton’s absence. Though the article doesn’t quote Buck Showalter, it references 2014, when O’Day was bypassed in favor of Britton after Tommy Hunter was removed from the role — this year, Brad Brach, Mychal Givens, and Dylan Bundy are listed as potential alternatives. Britton is still hoping to avoid the DL, of course, so this may not influence more than a small handful of save opportunities, but if you’ve got roster space, you might consider a flyer on one of these guys.

Hierarchy remains: Britton | O’Day | Brach.

May 1, 2016
Baltimore Orioles — Zach Britton left yesterday’s game with an ankle injury, and is considered day to day.  Darren O’Day should close if Britton misses any games.

Hierarchy remains: Britton | O’Day | Brach.

April 30, 2016
Baltimore Orioles — Brad Brach gave up the tying run in the seventh, then earned the win when the Orioles came back in the bottom of the inning. Both Brach and Mychal Givens have been pitching well, but Buck Showalter routinely goes to Givens first, and Brach has allowed half as many baserunners while pitching a few more innings.

Updated hierarchy: Britton | O’Day | Brach.

April 8, 2016
Baltimore Orioles — Zach Britton got a night off after throwing 26 pitches in Wednesday’s game, leaving the save opportunity for the excellent Darren O’Day, who struck out the side.

Hierarchy remains: Britton | O’Day | Givens.

February 29, 2016
Baltimore Orioles — Zach Britton and Darren O’Day will be back in the roles they’ve dominated since Tommy Hunter’s demotion last May. The seventh inning should be left in the capable hands of Mychal Givens and Brad Brach.

Starting 2016 hierarchy: Britton | O’Day | Givens.
Holds candidates: O’Day, Givens, Brach.

September 25, 2015
Baltimore Orioles — Somehow, the Orioles are still in wild card contention, just three games back in the loss column with 10 to go. They’ve played extremely well of late and could find themselves in a bunch of save situations down the stretch. Who would get those chances, however, is less clear. For the third straight day, Darren O’Day did the honors Thursday, converting his sixth save of the season. Regular closer Zach Britton had an MRI on his injured lat earlier this week that revealed no serious damage. He’s still day-to-day with the injury.

Hierarchy remains: Britton | O’Day | Brach.

September 24, 2015
Baltimore Orioles — Zach Britton may begin playing catch today, but will probably be out until at least the weekend. He has been told he cannot injure himself further by pitching through the injury, but he will be less effective. While healthy, Britton is one of the best closers in the game, but Darren O’Day is worth a pickup if you are scraping for fantasy playoff saves, as he may have the 9th inning for at least the weekend, maybe even the rest of the year.

Hierarchy remains: Britton | O’Day | Brach.

September 23, 2015
Baltimore Orioles — Darren O’Day collected his fourth save of the season on Tuesday, and after the game Zach Britton revealed that he is day-to-day with a sore left lat muscle. Britton said it’s not a longterm thing, but O’Day, who has been excellent all season, will get the 9th while Britton recovers.

Hierarchy remains: Britton | O’Day | Brach.

September 18, 2015
Baltimore Orioles — Manager Buck Showalter gave closer Zach Britton another day off after a recent heavy workload, so Darren O’Day was able to corral his third save of the season Thursday. O’Day, whom Showalter called the “leader of that bullpen” and “good people,” has been outstanding this year (1.54 ERA, 0.98 WHIP) and may get some serious looks in free agency in the offseason.

Hierarchy remains: Britton | O’Day | Brach.

August 12, 2015
Baltimore Orioles — Shoulder tendinitis is the apparent source of Chaz Roe’s recent struggles; he’ll head to the disabled list and be replaced in the Baltimore hierarchy by Brad Brach (63 K in 55.1 IP).

Updated hierarchy: Britton | O’Day | Brach.

June 18, 2015
Baltimore Orioles — Chaz Roe finished the 7th inning ahead of Zach Britton on Wednesday. Nobody is racking up the holds in Baltimore, but Roe has been very impressive since joining the club, sporting a tidy 1.13 ERA and 0.88 WHIP thanks to a great slider as well as a strong sinker. His 17 strikeouts and four walks have helped him edge out Tommy Hunter, who has had an up and down year.

Updated hierarchy: Britton | O’Day | Roe.

June 11, 2015
Baltimore Orioles — With Zach Britton having earned a five-out save the previous night, Darren O’Day pitched two strong innings to collect his second save of the season.

Hierarchy remains: Britton | O’Day | Hunter.

May 14, 2015
Baltimore Orioles — Darren O’Day picked up his first save of the season in a 6-1 Baltimore win.

Hierarchy remains: Britton | O’Day | Hunter.

May 10, 2015
Baltimore Orioles — Tommy Hunter pitched the 8th inning yesterday before O’Day and Britton combined to pitch the 9th.  Hunter has not allowed an earned run in his last 8 appearances, and the former closer should continue to see time at the back-end of the Orioles’ bullpen.

Updated hierarchy: Britton | O’Day | Hunter.

May 3, 2015
Baltimore Orioles — Brad Brach came on with 2 men on base and 2 outs in the 8th inning to protect a four run lead.  He got Steven Souza to foul out and then came back to pitch a perfect 9th for his first career save.  Brach has gotten off to solid start to the season and it appears the Orioles are starting to trust him in higher leverage situations.

Updated hierarchy: Britton | O’Day | Brach.

March 6, 2015
Baltimore Orioles — It’s a bullpen bonanza in Baltimore, as the Orioles return seven pitchers from last year, a group that combined to throw 80% of the innings out of the ‘pen last year. Zach Britton saved 37 games last season after winning the job and will be back as the closer again in 2015. Darren O’Day should get the bulk of the eighth-inning chances with Andrew Miller in New York, with Tommy Hunter and lefty Brian Matusz competing for the seventh inning.

Starting 2015 hierarchy: Britton | O’Day | Hunter.
Holds candidates: O’Day, Matusz.

September 25, 2014
Baltimore Orioles — Darren O’Day entered the eighth inning with two outs and the tying run on deck. He got out of the jam without any further damage before completing a perfect ninth inning to earn his fourth save of the season.

Hierarchy remains: Britton | O’Day | Miller.

September 11, 2014
Baltimore Orioles — The Orioles led 10-1 entering the bottom of the ninth and somehow still managed to squeeze out a save for Darren O’Day. Joe Saunders gets credit for the assist; he gave up two more baserunners than starter Wei-Yin Chin, while recording only 20 fewer outs.

Hierarchy remains: Britton | O’Day | Miller.

September 8, 2014
Baltimore Orioles – Andrew Miller picked up his first save of the season in an 11-inning game. Zach Britton had blown the save in the 9th, but his job is not in jeopardy.

Hierarchy remains: Britton | O’Day | Miller.

August 18, 2014
Baltimore Orioles – The Orioles have an embarrassment of riches in their bullpen right now, as Andrew Miller has wonderfully complemented the dominant duo of Darren O’Day and Zach Britton. Miller got the 8th inning hold last night, and has been splitting those opportunities with O’Day over the past several weeks, depending on match ups. This does make it hard to guess who would be the beneficiary should Britton go down — but we’ll leave the hierarchy as is for the time being with the above qualifier in place.

Hierarchy remains: Britton | O’Day | Miller.

August 4, 2014
Baltimore Orioles – Andrew Miller got his third 8th inning hold in four appearances with Baltimore, and along with Darren O’Day has given the Orioles a dominant righty-lefty punch in the 8th inning.

Hierarchy remains: Britton | O’Day | Miller.

August 2, 2014
Baltimore Orioles — One day after trading for Andrew Miller, the Orioles threw their new big lefty reliever out there in the 8th inning to protect a one run lead.  He was brought on after a walk to Austin Jackson put the tying run on base and two lefties were due up next.  Miller has the ability to get out both righties and lefties but with right-handers O’Day and Hunter already in the back end of the O’s bullpen, Miller should get the call mostly against lefties in the later innings.  That being said, if anything were to happen to closer Zach Britton, Miller would likely be in the mix for saves.

Hierarchy remains: Britton | O’Day | Hunter.

August 1, 2014
Baltimore Orioles — The Orioles acquired lefty Andrew Miller from the Red Sox on Thursday as GM Dan Duquette added depth to an already strong Baltimore bullpen. Miller, who is effective against batters on both sides of the plate, is expected to help Tommy Hunter and Darren O’Day set up closer Zach Britton. After Hunter threw 25 pitches in Thursday’s 13-inning loss, Miller may get called upon on Friday in a high-leverage spot.

Hierarchy remains: Britton | O’Day | Hunter.

July 23, 2014
Baltimore Orioles — Zach Britton looked dominant on Tuesday night, and he has earned his last three saves with a miserly 25 combined pitches.

Hierarchy remains: Britton | O’Day | Hunter.

July 15, 2014
Baltimore Orioles – The Orioles sit in first place at the All-Star break, but won’t likely be making a big splash at the deadline for a reliever like last year when they acquired K-Rod. Zach Britton has emerged quite nicely as the closer with Darren O’Day right behind him as a strong secondary option. At this point, Tommy Hunter doesn’t figure to be returning to the closer’s role unless a serious collapse occurs. TRADE DEADLINE BUY/SELL: None

June 13, 2014
Baltimore Orioles – Ryan Webb picked up his ninth hold of the season on Thursday and did so against the meat of Toronto’s lineup in the eighth inning, his one blemish a double by Jose Bautista. Darren O’Day got the night off after a 21-pitch outing on Wednesday and Tommy Hunter is still the next-likely arm to get a save opp if O’Day and Zach Britton struggle, but Webb is proving himself to be a fourth option for manager Buck Showalter.

Hierarchy remains: Britton | O’Day | Hunter.

June 9, 2014
Baltimore Orioles – Tommy Hunter returned from the DL on Sunday. He’s got a ways to go before he reclaims the closer role, as both Zach Britton and Darren O’Day are sporting sub-1.00 ERAs. But Hunter’s past experience does slot him in 3rd place behind his two otherworldly colleagues. If they both struggle, he could get the job back.

Updated hierarchy: Britton | O’Day | Hunter.

June 8, 2014
Baltimore Orioles — Tommy Hunter pitched on a rehab assignment yesterday, striking out two in a perfect inning.  Hunter could be activated as soon as today, but with the way Britton and O’Day are pitching, we don’t expect Hunter to immediately reclaim his closer’s job.

Hierarchy remains: Britton | O’Day | Webb.

May 28, 2014
Baltimore Orioles — In a tight game with the Brewers on Tuesday, Baltimore used Ryan Webb in the seventh, Darren O’Day and Brian Matusz in the eighth (the latter as a LOOGY), and Zach Britton (working on his third straight day) in the ninth. A swinging bunt resulted in Britton’s first blown save, and he should expect some rest tomorrow.

Hierarchy remains: Britton | O’Day | Webb.

May 23, 2014
Baltimore Orioles – Tommy Hunter was placed on the disabled list on Thursday with a strained groin. There’s no indication of when he was injured, but this might be an indication of why the former closer had been so ineffective as of late.

Updated hierarchy: Britton | O’Day | Webb.

May 15, 2014
Baltimore Orioles – Two days after Tommy Hunter blew his second straight save chance, Buck Showalter summoned lefty Zach Britton to get the final three outs of a 2-1 game.  Britton needed only 12 pitches to convert, registering his first career save.  After the game, Showalter was noncommittal about the closer role going forward, complimenting Britton’s work but also offering high praise to Darren O’Day.  It looks like this could develop into a committee, but for now, we’ll take the guy with the 95 mph sinker.

Updated hierarchy: Britton | O’Day | Hunter.

May 14, 2014
Baltimore Orioles — After an overturned call on a Rajai Davis steal, Tommy Hunter blew his second straight save and boasts a 21.60 ERA over his last four appearances. Hunter has allowed 29 baserunners in his 15 IP so far this year, and the cries to replace him are getting louder. Buck Showalter is speaking in generalities thus far: “You’re alert to it, you keep an eye on it. And if there’s some adjustments that need to be made, we’ll make them . . . we’ll constantly see what gives us the best option to pitch nine innings and be competitive and continue to be in first place. And that’s what we’ll do.” Here’s a link to his postgame news conference.

Tommy Hunter to Hot Seat. Hierarchy remains: Hunter | Britton | O’Day.

May 9, 2014
Baltimore Orioles – Tommy Hunter got the night off on Thursday after two rather challenging saves on each of the previous two days, and Zach Britton was also unavailable, having thrown 3.1 innings over the previous four games. That left Darren O’Day to pick up a vulture save; the submariner will continue sharing set-up duties with Britton going forward.

Hierarchy remains: Hunter | Britton | O’Day.

May 8, 2014
Baltimore Orioles — Converted starter Zach Britton continues to ascend in the Baltimore bullpen; he’s picked up two straight eighth-inning holds for the O’s.

Hierarchy change: Hunter | Britton | O’Day.

May 2, 2014
Baltimore Orioles – He started the season as a long reliever, but Zach Britton has been getting more high-leverage innings as of late.  In the first game of the Orioles’ doubleheader on Thursday, he pitched the 7th inning and earned his 4th hold of the year.  Hierarchy change: Zach Britton to 2nd in line, replacing Brian Matusz.

April 28, 2014
Baltimore Orioles – Just five days removed from giving up four earned runs to the Blue Jays, Evan Meek got knocked around again on Sunday, and has now given up 8 ERs in his last 1.1 innings pitched.  It’s unlikely he’ll be trusted with any more important innings until he gets things turned around.  Hierarchy change: Brian Matusz to 2nd in line, replacing Evan Meek.

April 19, 2014
Baltimore Orioles – Darren O’Day picked up the save last night.  He got the last out of the 8th inning with the Orioles up 3 and then Orioles added another run in the top of the 9th.  O’Day stayed on to finish the game and record his first save of the season.  No hierarchy change.

April 1, 2014
Baltimore Orioles — Evan Meek entered the eighth inning of Monday’s opener and recorded the first two outs before giving way to Brian Matusz for a lefty-lefty matchup to close the inning. Meek was the last player to make the opening-day roster, but the 2010 All-Star was immediately thrown into a high-leverage situation and escaped without much trouble. Hierarchy change: Evan Meek to 2nd in line, replacing Ryan Webb.

March 13, 2014
Baltimore Orioles — Tommy Hunter had a very good WHIP last year, but he doesn’t miss enough bats and gives up too many home runs. Ranked #26 in our preseason closer rankings.

March 11, 2014
Baltimore Orioles – Tommy Hunter has the inside track to the closer role to begin the season after the Orioles traded away Jim Johnson during the offseason. Darren O’Day will be right on his heels however, as will former Marlin Ryan Webb. Webb didn’t wow anyone last year, but he does have a good sinker and can also baffle hitters with a slider and change-up. Starting 2014 hierarchy: Closer – Tommy Hunter, Set-up – Darren O’Day, 2nd in line – Ryan Webb.

August 30, 2013
Baltimore Orioles – As expected, it was Jim Johnson who got the call in the 9th for the Orioles last night, officially bringing to a close Tommy Hunter’s reign at closer.  Johnson should see all of the save opps going forward, unless he falters again.  No hierarchy change.

August 28, 2013
Baltimore Orioles – Though Jim Johnson made a strong case for reclaiming his closer job in his last outing, it took five days before either he or Tommy Hunter appeared in a game again.  It finally happened tonight, with Hunter being summoned in the middle of the 8th inning, whereupon he promptly gave up the go-ahead run and took the loss.  Though Buck Showalter was far from supportive of Johnson a week ago (on the night that he used Hunter to get the save), the Orioles former closer appears to have won his old job back.  He does, however, immediately land on the Hot Seat, and will need a few saves in a row to get off of it.  Hierarchy change: Jim Johnson to Closer, Tommy Hunter to Set-up.

August 24, 2013
Baltimore Orioles — Jim Johnson picked up the save on Friday night as he pitched a perfect inning with 1 strikeout.  Right now it looks like both Tommy Hunter and Jim Johnson are worth owning.  If Jim Johnson is able to string together a couple good outings he should reclaim his role as closer.  However, with the Orioles in the midst of a playoff chase they cannot afford any more blown saves from Johnson so if he struggles in his next outing, Tommy Hunter could continue to see save opportunities. No hierarchy change.

August 21, 2013
Baltimore Orioles – In a wild 9th inning, Buck Showalter first left Darren O’Day on the mound to try to get the first out, and then yanked him in favor of Brian Matusz after the submariner allowed the first runner to reach.  Matusz walked the only hitter he faced before being pulled in favor of Tommy Hunter, who worked his way through the remainder of the inning to earn the save.  Postgame, Showalter gave no endorsement to embattled closer Jim Johnson, saying the Orioles would do what they could to win the rest of the way.  Given Hunter’s successful outing tonight, he’s probably the best player to add, though Francisco Rodriguez, Matusz, O’Day, and Johnson could all be in the mix.  Hierarchy change: Tommy Hunter to Closer, Jim Johnson to Set-up, Francisco Rodriguez to 2nd in line.

August 15, 2013
Baltimore Orioles — Jim Johnson blew his third straight save and ninth of the year on Wednesday. Even before the game, the Baltimore Sun was asking its readers whether Johnson should be demoted, with 92% saying yes at the time of this report. Although Buck Showalter insists that he “can’t live in that world,” won’t “shoot the wounded,” and has no intention to give any save opportunities to K-Rod, we’ve heard that tune before. Johnson can’t afford another mistake. Hierarchy change: Francisco Rodriguez to Set-up, Tommy Hunter to 2nd in line, Jim Johnson to Hot Seat.

August 10, 2013
Baltimore Orioles — Tommy Hunter pitched the 10th inning to pick up the save last night.  Jim Johnson blew the save in the 9th but Francisco Rodriguez was still available.  It looks like Tommy Hunter is the best option to pick up saves for the Orioles if Johnson is unavailable. Hierarchy change: Tommy Hunter to Set-up, Francisco Rodriguez to 2nd in line.

July 24, 2013
Baltimore Orioles — As we reported last night, the Orioles have traded for Francisco Rodriguez and are likely to put him to immediate use in the set-up role. Jim Johnson is now on notice. Hierarchy change: Francisco Rodriguez to Set-up, Tommy Hunter to 2nd in line.

July 23, 2013
Baltimore Orioles — The Orioles traded for Francisco Rodriguez on Tuesday.  It is unlikely that K-Rod immediately replaces Jim Johnson as closer, especially considering Johnson currently leads the majors in saves.  However, Johnson also has blown six saves this year and if he blows a couple more, the Orioles could turn to Rodriguez. Hierarchy change: Francisco Rodriguez to Set-up, Tommy Hunter to 2nd in line.

July 22, 2013
Baltimore Orioles — After Jim Johnson was used in two straight games, Darren O’Day was used to pick up the save on Sunday night. No hierarchy change.

July 17, 2013
Baltimore Orioles — In the thick of an extremely competitive AL East race, the O’s are likely to stay with their current approach in the bullpen: Darren O’Day and Tommy Hunter pitching effectively in front of an inconsistent Jim Johnson. TRADE DEADLINE BUY/SELL: None.

July 6, 2013
Baltimore Orioles — Jim Johnson blew his sixth save of the season last night.  Johnson saw his ERA climb over 4 and, with the way Tommy Hunter has been pitching, he could be in danger of losing his job if he continues to pitch poorly. Jim Johnson to Hot Seat.

June 29, 2013
Baltimore Orioles – Tommy Hunter picked up the save on Friday night.  Jim Johnson was given the night off after pitching in three of the past four games.    No hierarchy change.

June 19, 2013
Baltimore Orioles — Tuesday night marked the third straight eighth-inning appearance for Tommy Hunter; in two of those games, Buck Showalter used Darren O’Day earlier, including with a four-run lead in the 6th on Tuesday. Both men are pitching very well, but Hunter has nosed ahead. Hierarchy change: Tommy Hunter to Set-up, Darren O’Day to 2nd in line.

May 27, 2013
Baltimore Orioles – Jim Johnson picked up the save on Saturday but blew another one on Sunday.  The blown save on Sunday was his fourth of the season and he is still very much on the hot seat.  No hierarchy change.

May 21, 2013
Baltimore Orioles — In under a week, a Jim Johnson blown save has gone from historical oddity to disturbing three-time trend. It’s likely that Johnson, never conventionally dominant, is simply reverting to the mean via a run of particularly bad luck. On the heels of a six-game losing streak in the competitive AL East, however, Buck Showalter may not long have the luxury of keeping faith in his large righthander. Jim Johnson to Hot Seat.

May 15, 2013
Baltimore Orioles — Jim Johnson blew the save last night, managing to squeeze four singles, a hit batsman, and three outs from a mere 13 pitches. Of course he’s in no danger, as it was his first blown save since last July, a string of 35 successes broken. Perhaps someone could inform the Oriole “fans” on TwitterNo hierarchy change.

May 8, 2013
Baltimore Orioles — Pedro Strop continues to slide down the Baltimore bullpen hierarchy, while Tommy Hunter was summoned again in a late/close situation and picked up his second vulture win in four days. Hierarchy change: Tommy Hunter to 2nd in line, replacing Pedro Strop.

May 6, 2013
Baltimore Orioles – Darren O’Day on Sunday entered the game in the 8th inning with a few runners on and got out of the jam, retiring the first man he faced.  With the Orioles up 4, he stayed on for the 9th inning, and picked up his first save of the season.  O’Day has had a tremendous season so far, but he’s not a threat to take Jim Johnson’s job at this point.  No hierarchy change.

April 22, 2013
Baltimore Orioles – Nearly all season, Darren O’Day has served as the 8th inning man for the Orioles.  Pedro Strop was the go-to set-up man for Baltimore last year, but has struggled out of the box this year, having posted a 9.45 ERA through the season’s first three weeks.  He pitched yesterday in the 7th inning of a game the Orioles were losing, and will need to get back on track before he’s used in high-leverage situations again.  Hierarchy change: Darren O’Day to Set-up, Pedro Strop to 2nd in line.

April 21, 2013
Baltimore Orioles – Tommy Hunter picked up a three inning save in the second game of the double header yesterday.  Hunter has pitched relatively well this season out of the bullpen, but he still does not currently factor into the Orioles late inning options. No hierarchy change.

February 24, 2013
Baltimore Orioles – Starting 2013 hierarchy: Closer- Jim Johnson, Set-up- Pedro Strop, 2nd in line- Darren O’Day.  

July 27, 2012
Baltimore Orioles – Submariner Darren O’Day pitched the 7th inning last night, picking up his 6th hold of the year. He now has a 2.97 ERA and has been pitching in higher-leverage spots than Matt Lindstrom as of late. Hierarchy change: Darren O’Day to 2nd in line, replacing Matt Lindstrom.

July 13, 2012
Baltimore Orioles – The Orioles bullpen has been spectacular, top to bottom, thus far this year. Jim Johnson and Pedro Strop have been solid in their roles, and the Orioles are unlikely to seek any help at the deadline. They’re leading the race for the second Wild Card and aren’t going to be selling, either. TRADE DEADLINE BUY/SELL: None.

June 30, 2012
Baltimore Orioles – Matt Lindstrom got the final out of the 7th inning on Friday, and eventually earned the win in his second appearance since returning from the DL. The hard-throwing righty has a 1.80 ERA on the season, and given his past closer experience, he’d likely be the guy the Orioles went to if Jim Johnson and Pedro Strop were unavailable. Hierarchy change: Matt Lindstrom to 2nd in line, replacing Darren O’Day.

June 11, 2012
Baltimore Orioles – Darren O’Day picked up his 4th win of the year on Sunday, pitching a scoreless frame in the 10th inning. The submariner now has a 1.78 ERA and has shown that he can consistently get both righties and lefties out. Hierarchy change: Darren O’Day to 2nd in line, replacing Luis Ayala.

May 19, 2012
Baltimore Orioles – Pedro Strop picked up a save in the 11th inning on Friday. As noted in yesterday’s Vulture Save Watch, Jim Johnson had pitched three nights in a row and had a day off. No hierarchy change.

May 5, 2012
Baltimore Orioles – Luis Ayala pitched two innings in a tie game Friday, and has now gone 13 innings without allowing a run this season. He’s surpassed Matt Lindstrom on the depth chart. Hierarchy change: Luis Ayala to 2nd in line, replacing Matt Lindstrom.

April 27, 2012
Baltimore Orioles – With Jim Johnson hospitalized all week with a mystery illness, the Orioles have had to turn elsewhere in the ninth during their last three games. After two straight saves for Pedro Strop, Thursday was Luis Ayala’s turn. Manager Buck Showalter says Johnson could be released from the hospital Friday “if he can hold the food down.” No hierarchy change.

April 26, 2012
Baltimore Orioles – Jim Johnson remained hospitalized on Wednesday and Pedro Strop again got the save. Johnson is still the closer when he comes back but Strop is definitely the guy to own as Johnson’s backup. No hierarchy change.

April 25, 2012
Baltimore Orioles
– Pedro Strop got the save last night as Jim Johnson spent Monday night in a hospital with flulike symptoms and was unavailable. No hierarchy change.

April 14, 2012
Baltimore Orioles
– Pedro Strop pitched in the 8th last night with the Orioles up one. Strop has only given up one run so far this season while Kevin Gregg has gotten off to a slow start. Hierarchy change: Pedro Strop to Set-up, replacing Kevin Gregg.

March 24, 2012
Baltimore Orioles- Jim Johnson remains the closer after taking the job from Kevin Gregg last season. Gregg is being actively shopped by the O’s, but for now remains the setup man. Matt Lindstrom, acquired in the offseason via a trade with the Rockies, is expected to be the 7th-inning man. Starting 2012 hierarchy: Closer- Jim Johnson, Set-up- Kevin Gregg, 2nd in line- Matt Lindstrom.

Sept. 25, 2011
Baltimore Orioles- With Jim Johnson having thrown 25 pitches the night before, as well as having pitched in 4 of the previous 5 games, the Orioles gave Kevin Gregg another save chance, and the veteran delivered. No hierarchy change.

Sept. 23, 2011
Baltimore Orioles- Jim Johnson was given the night off after pitching on three consecutive nights. Kevin Gregg got the save in his stead. No hierarchy change.

Sept. 20, 2011
Baltimore Orioles- Since being acquired in the Mike Gonzalez deal, Pedro Strop has been quietly solid for the Orioles. He was one of four relievers the O’s used to bridge the gap between their starting pitcher and closer Jim Johnson last night, and currently sports a sub-3 ERA. Hierarchy change: Pedro Strop to 2nd in line, replacing Chris Jakubauskas.

Sept. 13, 2011
Baltimore Orioles- Jim Johnson picked up the save tonight. Kevin Gregg was available, having not pitched in three days, so it appears that the Orioles have finally handed the job to the hard-throwing sinkerballer. Hierarchy change: Jim Johnson to Closer, Kevin Gregg to Set-up.

Sept. 10, 2011
Baltimore Orioles- Kevin Gregg was rested last night after throwing 52 pitches in the previous two games, so Jim Johnson pitched the ninth, picking up his 4th save of the season. No hierarchy change.

Sept. 8, 2011
Baltimore Orioles- Jim Johnson picked up an 11th inning save last night after Kevin Gregg had already pitched. No hierarchy change.

Sept. 1, 2011
Baltimore Orioles- With the trade of Mike Gonzalez, Jim Johnson returns to the set-up role for now. The O’s still want to give him a start or two though, so this could change quickly. Hierarchy change: Johnson to Set-up, Jakubauskas to 2nd in line.

Aug. 25, 2011
Baltimore Orioles- Mike Gonzalez looked sharp again for Baltimore, striking out all three batters he faced in the 8th. The O’s are looking to move Jim Johnson in to the rotation, so Gonzalez may assume the set-up role soon. Hierarchy change: Gonzalez to Set-Up, Johnson to 2nd in line.

Aug. 21, 2011
Baltimore Orioles- Jim Johnson pitched 3 scoreless innings last night, while Mike Gonzalez was used for only 0.2 innings in the 6th. While Gonzalez has more career saves, Johnson is clearly the best pitcher in the Orioles bullpen, including closer Kevin Gregg, who blew the save last night. Hierarchy change: Johnson to Set-Up, Gonzalez to 2nd in line. Gregg to Hot Seat.

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