Texas Rangers bullpen is still shaky
Notice that I didn't say that the bullpen is terrible, or awful, or anything like that. The word that I used is shaky, and that describes their outings in the first two games of the ALDS perfectly. In Game 1, they surrendered no runs, even though technically Dunning was a reliever and did give up one run. The reality is Dunning was a second starter on the day, and the real bullpen efforts didn't start until Will Smith came in with two outs in the sixth.
The pen was able to keep the Orioles from scoring in the seventh, eighth, and ninth, although it didn't always look like that was going to be the case. There were multiple times when it appeared that the game was about to unravel, but somehow, they would regain their composure and get out of a jam.
Game two was not much different, but the huge lead that the offense gave the bullpen proved to be enough. As referenced earlier, Bradford was excellent in his appearance. Additionally, Josh Sborz only required one pitch to get out of a jam, but after he had thrown seven straight balls to start his outing the day before, it was a little nerve-racking until the out was recorded.
Brock Burke was, well... Brock Burke. His stuff can be very good, but if he is off, he needs to be removed quickly. That is what Bochy did, and he wasn't messing around, even though the Rangers led by six runs. Unfortunately, that six-run lead was turned into a three-run lead with the swing of Aaron Hicks bat that connected to a Jose Leclerc offering. Leclerc settled in and finished recording the last two outs and got the Rangers to the finish line of Game 2.
Overall the bullpen was successful because the Rangers picked up two wins in Baltimore. There is little surprise that there were some bumps in the road and several uneasy feelings as well. The Rangers bullpen is who they are, and we will hope that they can manage to continue to get by as this playoff run continues. It is seldom pretty, but they can sometimes be effective.