So how is life pitching in the ninth inning? The O’s new closer Tommy Hunter is still finding that out.
Hunter is 3-for-4 in save chances, and suffered a blown save Saturday night when he gave up a Colby Rasmus homer with two outs on a 1-2 pitch and with his club leading, 1-0.
Hunter admits he is still finding his way and learning about his new role.
“There is definitely a lot to learn,” he said this afternoon. “It’s not something I can say I’m accustomed to it at all, because I’m not. There is a learning curve. There will be things where I’ve not been in that situation before. But I’m up for the challenges.
“I’ve got Dom (Chiti, bullpen coach) to help me through it. Dave (Wallace, pitching coach) has been giving me his words of wisdom. Trying to let it take care of itself. Learn every day and try to be better.”
In five games, Hunter has pitched four innings, giving up four hits and two runs with no walks and four strikeouts.
Last season, he pitched 86 1/3 relief innings, the second most in the American League. He went two innings or more 13 times and had an ERA of 0.30 in those games.
With Hunter, how he does as closer may well come down to how he does against left-handed batters. Last year, he gave up an average of .294 and slugging percentage of .535 against lefty hitters. He allowed 11 homers last season, all to left-handed batters.
Hunter said he has not changed anything to try and combat the lefty hitters.
“Just make better pitches,” he said. “That is all it boils down to. If I knew why they saw the ball a little better than right-handers off me, I’d definitely figure that out. But it comes down to making quality pitches.”
The Single-A Delmarva Shorebirds have been rained out of their home game tonight against Hagerstown.
They’ll make it up as part of a doubleheader, which will start at 5:05 p.m., on Wednesday evening. The doubleheader will consist of two seven-inning games. Gates will open at 4:30 p.m., at Perdue Stadium.
It appears we will still get a Hunter Harvey-Lucas Giolito pitching matchup. Both 19-year-old right-handers are now scheduled to pitch Game 1 on Wednesday. Harvey is 1-0 with a 1.64 ERA through two starts for the Shorebirds.
The Single-A Frederick Keys game at Winston-Salem has also been rained out tonight. The game will be made up as part of a doubleheader Wednesday morning. First pitch is scheduled for 11 a.m., with the second game to follow. Both will be seven-inning contests.
Left-hander Matt Taylor (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will make the Game 1 start for the Keys with Jesse Beal (0-0, 6.14 ERA) starting Game 2.