At this point, it may be a somewhat safe assumption that Kevin Gregg is the O’s closer. He has the club’s only save this year.
Manager Buck Showalter doesn’t seem to want to publicly anoint anyone for that role and he has a few options for the ninth inning. Gregg said that is fine with him.
“We pitch when we are told to pitch. Buck and Mark (Connor) make the decision as to when we come into the games. Pretty simple,” Gregg said.
The right-hander saved 37 of 43 games for Toronto last year and says pitching the ninth inning is a challenge he relishes.
“I really enjoy the game on the line, I like being the last guy standing. That pressure of taking home the victory for the team.”
Some fans have already noticed that Gregg may pick up a shaky save or two from time to time. He will fully acknowledge there may be times he pitches a hitter very carefully or pitches around him to get at another batter in what he considers a better situation.
One thing that doesn’t faze Gregg is pitching with men on base. Last year, he allowed just a .197 batting average against with runners in scoring position. That’s a pretty good stat for a closer and this year, over two appearances, opponent hitters are 0-for-3 against him with RISP.
“I think all relievers, if you are going to break down stats, that’s an important one,” Gregg said. “How do you pitch with guys in scoring position. So, yeah, I know how to get out of those situations. If you say ‘what’s it look like when you are out there, I don’t care what it looks like.’ If we win, everybody is happy in this clubhouse.”