SEATTLE - Orioles outfielder Hyun Soo Kim has 122 at-bats this year, but just four against left-handed pitchers. He is starting tonight versus Seattle lefty Wade LeBlanc. It’s his first start against a southpaw.
“LeBlanc is a reverse split guy with the changeup. So we’ll see,” manager Buck Showalter said.
Reverse splits means LeBlanc does worse against left-handed batters over right-handed hitters. In his career lefties hit .317 off LeBlanc and right-handed batters hit .259.
Kim also has 12 hits his last 28 at-bats for a .429 average and he’s homered in back-to-back games.
The O’s skipper provided a brief update on Darren O’Day, who has not pitched since June 1. He’s out with a right hamstring strain and has thrown two bullpen sessions so far.
“He felt pretty good today which was a good sign. He’s not going backwards, just not going forward,” Showalter said.
That means there is still no timetable for when O’Day can return to the Orioles or even for when his next bullpen will be.
Closer Zach Britton got the last two outs in the bottom of the eighth for the Orioles last night. He fanned both Leonys Martin and pinch-hitter Franklin Gutierrez throwing a series of high 90s fastballs. One pitch was recorded at 100 mph on game tracker. This Fangraphs chart shows it was some of Britton’s best velocity of his career, as he averaged 98 mph.
I asked Britton today about that velocity.
“I had a few days off and Dylan (Bundy) had done a good job, so trying to strand that runner and maybe had a little extra adrenaline,” Britton said. “Normally I don’t want it (his sinker) to be that fast. That can mean it’s not moving. But yesterday I had the combination (movemenet and velocity) going. So I guess you take it when you can get it.”
Showalter seemed a little skeptical of the radar readings.
“Their gun is a little high here, I think,” Showalter said. “But it was still good. One thing I like about Zach, one of those days when it’s a non-save situation but they still need to pitch, that can be a nightmare for closers. But Zach, that’s a really strong mentality when you can keep them there.”
Britton is 23-for-23 in save situations this year and is now four saves away from 100 for his career.