The Orioles had every right to strut out of Fenway Park on Friday night after the bullpen pitched eight scoreless innings in a 6-4 extra-inning victory over the banged-up Boston Red Sox, but there's a cloud inside that silver lining.
Trust me, I don't want to rain on this parade. Matt Lindstrom, Pedro Strop, Luis Ayala, winning pitcher Troy Patton and Jim Johnson (8 for 8 in save situations) combined to give up just three hits and work out of series of jams in a very tough place to win an extra-inning game. Even Wei-Yin Chen deserves some credit, for holding things together after the Orioles committed three errors behind him in the early innings.
There's never a bad time to score an uplifting victory, but the herculean effort by the relievers could end up coming back to haunt the Orioles if they can't follow up the series opener with a couple of deep performances from the starting rotation on Saturday and Sunday.
The reason the Orioles have been so successful so far is because they've been able to get a lot of innings from the rotation and keep the bullpen fresh. Now, they are in danger of wearing it down after burning eight very impressive innings in the first game of a grueling 20-game span without a day off.
Of course, Jason Hammel can remove that concern with seven innings on Saturday afternoon.
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