CHICAGO - Tommy Hunter never fails to amuse me. He’s a fun guy. He keeps everyone loose, whether he’s singing off-key or talking smack during ping pong or just firing one-liners at teammates and the media.
He’s also brutally honest with himself.
Hunter didn’t have his fastball command tonight, and he didn’t go easy on himself or the English language following the Orioles’ 8-1 loss to the White Sox.
Make no mistake, he was upset with the result, but even his frustration can bring a few laughs.
“Didn’t have a fastball,” he said. “You get hit when you don’t have one, and that’s just the bottom line.”
Hunter was just getting warmed up. Stay with me.
Hunter struck out the side in the bottom of the first, but A.J. Pierzynski hit a two-run homer in the second, Alex Rios lifted a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded in the third and Alejandro De Aza belted a solo shot in the fourth.
No. 9 hitter Gordon Beckham, batting .103 before tonight, singled in a run in the fifth, and Troy Patton let three inherited runners score on Adam Dunn’s bases-loaded double.
Hunter was charged with eight runs, inflating his ERA to 5.79.
He must have felt good coming out of the bullpen, right? I mean, he struck out the side in the first.
“No, actually I threw a (crappy) bullpen,” he said. “I felt good in the first inning and then I lost it. I was up in the zone, ball didn’t get down and I just didn’t make an adjustment. I can honestly say that. I did not make an adjustment. You’ve got to do it. That’s what this game is about. It about adjustments, and unfortunately tonight, I wasn’t able to do it.”
Hunter was asked about trying to fight back against the middle of Chicago’s lineup.
“I don’t think it was much of a fight if you don’t have a fastball,” he said. “I didn’t locate. It was all offspeed, offspeed, offspeed, offspeed, offspeed, and eventually if you keep throwing enough offspeed pitches in the zone, they’re going to hit it. And that’s what happened tonight.”
Hunter said he felt better about his start in Toronto despite the four home runs.
“Yeah, a (expletive) ton better,” he said. “I can’t say that, but yeah. Man, I’m giving you guys (expletive) answers. You can’t use any of this.”
I’ll make it work.
“I’ve got a couple bullpens coming up and the emphasis is going to be down in the zone,” he said. “I’ll find my fastball, I will find it. It will come. Just got to reach in my back pocket and pick it out.
“I don’t know what it is, I don’t know what happened today. I’ve got to figure it out, bottom line. You’ve got to throw strikes and you’ve got to throw strikes down in the zone to win a ballgame in the big leagues.”
Is that where the home runs come from, being up in the zone?
“Yeah,” he replied. “Well, the one today was just a horse (crap) pitch in a horse (crap) spot. It was just horse (crap). I don’t know how else to say it. It was a ball right down the middle of the plate that any big league hitter would be able to do that. I’m not taking anything away from Pierzynski. He put a good swing on it. Good for him. Tip your cap. But it was horse (crap) on my part.”
Sure beats hearing a pitcher say, “I liked the way the ball came out of my hand.”