Over the first four innings of his starts this year, Hunter has pitched to an ERA of 3.45. But his ERA over the fifth and sixth frames is 11.25 with a batting average against of .345.
He has allowed seven of his homers over 20 fifth and sixth innings this season.
The longball has been another issue for the right-hander, who has allowed the second-most homers in the AL this year, giving up 17 in 71 innings. Only Ervin Santana of the Los Angeles Angels, with 18, has given up more. Hunter has given up at least one homer in all but two of his starts.
His mound opponent tonight is Johan Santana, who is 4-3 with a 3.23 ERA over 13 starts. Santana pitched a no-hitter on June 1 against St. Louis. It was the first no-hitter in Mets history in the team’s 8,020th game.
But some might wonder if letting Santana throw a career-high 134 pitches that night was a good move. Mets manager Terry Collins said he wanted to limit him to 110-115 pitches but just couldn’t take him out with a no-hitter on the line.
In two starts since the no-no, Santana has given up 13 hits and 10 earned runs over 10 innings. He gave up four homers in the start after the no-hitter.
We’ll see tonight how the Orioles bounce back from losing the series opener. The last two times they lost the opener of a three-game series they came back strong.
The Phillies won on a Friday night at Camden Yards only to see the O’s post back-to-back walkoff wins the next two days. The Braves beat the Orioles last Friday only to see the Birds pitch back-to-back shutouts the next two days.
We’ll see what the O’s have in store this time, tonight at Citi Field.