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Bullpen a point of strength so far for Orioles

Bullpen a point of strength so far for Orioles

OAKLAND -- Orioles relief pitcher Darren O'Day pointed to a specific series last year in Boston when he thought the Baltimore bullpen came of age.

In a three-game May series at Fenway Park, the Orioles needed 17 relief appearances (including one from first baseman Chris Davis) to throw 23 innings in a sweep of the Red Sox.

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Two games went extra innings, one 13 innings and the other 17 innings. The bullpen allowed one run for an ERA of 0.39.

"Everybody was coming in and throwing two innings and we kept throwing up zeroes," O'Day said. "That set us up for the whole year."

The Orioles are getting the same results this season. The bullpen has an ERA of 2.15 and is averaging about 3 1/3 innings a game.

Take away Pedro Strop's 8.22 ERA and it's even more impressive, with the relievers owning an ERA of 1.27.

"The way the bullpen was constructed last year, you had a good mix of veterans, guys who had been closers and setup guys, and young guys," O'Day said. "The veterans were a big influence and taught the younger guys how to handle tight situations."

Rick Eymer is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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