Strong start for Orioles reliever Sulser; Akin cuts finger; Sceroler still out -

Rich Dubroff

Strong start for Orioles reliever Sulser; Akin cuts finger; Sceroler still out

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

BALTIMORE—In Friday night’s game, Orioles reliever Cole Sulser had an excellent two-inning stint, retiring all six batters he faced. In the seventh, he induced three ground balls on seven pitches. In the eighth, he struck out the side.

Sulser has been outstanding so far this season, allowing just five hits in 6 1/3 scoreless innings, striking out 10 without walking a batter.

“For the most part, it’s actually been pretty simple,” Sulser said. “Some of it is just from an approach standpoint, trying to be more aggressive in the zone early, especially in multiple offspeed pitches.

“A few mechanical changes, one of them, I just moved over on the rubber just a little bit, trying to give my breaking pitches a little bit more room on the plate before breaking off, trying to attack the zone and then make everything look more like a strike, mostly an approach standpoint.”

Sulser began 2020 as the Orioles’ closer. He had some initial success but ended up with a 1-5 record with a 5.59 ERA. He converted five of eight save opportunities.

“I learned a lot,” Sulser said. “There were definitely some ups and downs. The biggest thing you can do in baseball is try to level those off. You never want to get too high on your good days or too low on the bad days.

“A lot of that was looking at what I did well and trying to keep it up and looking at where I may have faltered and gotten away from my strengths and always remind myself that even if my outing isn’t going my best or you’re having a rough stretch, to trust in your stuff and keep your approach simple.

“A lot of times when we overcomplicate things, we end up with some very mixed results. I learned I want to identify my strengths and stick with them.”

Sulser began the 2021 season with the Orioles, then was sent down when Shawn Armstrong came off the paternity list on April 5th. Sulser rejoined the team on April 18th. He knows that because he has options, and the team has attempted to keep two Rule 5 picks, Mac Sceroler and Tyler Wells, that he can be sent to the minor leagues.


“It’s something you never want as a baseball player,” Sulser said. “It’s never fun to be sent down. You want to be here contributing every day. It’s our dream, and it’s our goal, for sure.

“At the same time, you try not to take it personal. Sometimes decisions have to be made. There’s some roster flexibility or some contract flexibility, and that’s the way it is. You’ve got to go out there whenever your name is called and be ready to contribute to the team.

“As long as you concentrate on that and don’t get too worked up about what’s happening and why or when am I going to be back or when am I going to be sent down. I think it’s a lot better to try to concentrate on what you can control, and that’s going out there with the best stuff I can.”

Sulser thinks the bullpen can have a strong season.

“We have some phenomenal arms in the ‘pen,” he said. “Some of them are doing a great job. They did a great job last year, and they’re continuing to move forward with that. Paul Fry, Tanner Scott, Dillon Tate, [César] Valdez, we have a ton of guys who had really good years last year. They continue to keep excelling. It’s tough to define where that limit might be.”

LeBlanc gets start, Akin injured: It wasn’t a surprise when Wade LeBlanc was assigned the start in Saturday night’s game against the Oakland A’s.

“We decided to give Wade a start, someone who started in spring training and started last year for us, has a lot of starting experience, on the roster right now, and somebody to give us a few innings,” manager Brandon Hyde said.

The Orioles might considered left-hander Keegan Akin, who’s at the alternate training site at Bowie, but he sliced his finger.

“He would have been a consideration, but he got stitches in his left index finger,” Hyde said. “He cut himself in the kitchen with a knife after breakfast, so he’s got stitches for a week to 10 days. He’s somebody that we would have considered to make the start today.”

Sceroler still out: Rule 5 right-hander Mac Sceroler is eligible to come off the 10-day injured list, but he won’t. Sceroler, who has tendinitis in his right shoulder, is improving, according to Hyde.

“He’s progressing, shoulder’s feeling a lot better, but he hasn’t thrown yet,” Hyde said.

Sceroler went on the injured list on April 13th.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB



  1. CalsPals

    April 24, 2021 at 6:09 pm

    Unfortunately you read too often about accidents like Akins, just blows my mind…go O’s…

  2. CalsPals

    April 24, 2021 at 7:52 pm

    Key words for LeBlanc, on the roster RIGHT NOW…maybe not after his start tonight, can’t make it two innings, given up a 4 spot…go O’s…

  3. Orial

    April 24, 2021 at 9:43 pm

    Shame about Akins. But not surprising in this “off-beat” world of Orioles baseball. Tell me again why Kremer didn’t get this start,tell me again why Means pitches every 7th day,and while we’re at it tell me again why they released a former Gold Glove 2nd baseman only to have a 3rd baseman take over the position. As Vince Lombardi so famously griped–“What the hell’s going on here?”

  4. dlgruber1

    April 24, 2021 at 10:31 pm

    Okay, so tell me if I have this correct. I’m forced to keep track of games on my phone so did I see it right that in the bottom of the 2nd inning, trailing 4-1, and Mancini, who will most likely end up leading the team in HRs and RBIs, at bat representing the tying run, that Sisco got thrown out trying to steal 3rd? Is that what happened? Even if he was just trying to advance on a WP or PB you just CANNOT make the final out of the inning that way! I learned that in teener league. I know the final score was not that close but still, you never take the bat out of the hands of your most productive hitter, EVER!! Ok, I feel a little better now, just a little.

    • Rich Dubroff

      April 24, 2021 at 11:17 pm

      No, the ball got away from the catcher. Sisco thought it got away farther than it did, and Murphy made a good play on it. It was not scored as a caught stealing.

    • dlgruber1

      April 25, 2021 at 2:07 am

      Rich, I appreciate the explanation but I’m gonna hafta stand by my statement-that CANNOT happen.

    • BarstoolSleeper

      April 25, 2021 at 6:24 am

      It was a bang bang play. Ball went all the way to the backstop but it took a perfect bounce off the bricks straight back to the catcher who made an absolute perfect throw to third. The runners have to move up in that situation. The ball just took an unfortunate bounce in the As favor and that was the end of the inning.

    • CalsPals

      April 25, 2021 at 7:14 am

      Really don’t blame Sisco as much as someone would normally, ball went all the way to the backstop & came back PERFECT to the catcher, I think I’dve been upset if he didn’t go…oh well…go O’s…

  5. Bhoffman1

    April 24, 2021 at 10:34 pm

    It’s genius Mike Elias at work. Releases a nothing pitcher LeBlanc only to resign him and sends down our fifth starter after his best game so the guy he released can lose another game for you. Moves a no hit third baseman to second and sends down a guy that can play every infield position and also hit to the alternate site. We need offense so he brings up a guy McKenna whom hasn’t hit instead of a guy who can hit in Diaz. It all makes a lot of sense if you want to lose which I guess he does.


      April 25, 2021 at 8:25 am

      HEY!!! Don’t pick on the “Boy Genius”!

    • CalsPals

      April 25, 2021 at 9:49 am

      :)…go O’s…

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