Orioles closer Kevin Gregg pitched a perfect ninth inning in Wednesday’s 3-2 win over the Athletics, giving the team its first home sweep of the Athletics in more than a decade. It was a rare uneventful night for Gregg, whose propensity to allow baserunners in save situations often leaves fans chugging Alka-Seltzer.
His late-night appearances usually aren’t heartburn-free, but he has been getting the job done the past three weeks. Gregg, who was signed to a two-year deal in the offseason, has converted his last five save opportunities and he hasn’t allowed a run in seven straight appearances. His ERA has dropped to 2.96.
But that doesn’t mean you feel comfortable yet when he is out on the mound. Gregg has given up 20 hits and walked 18 batters in 24 1/3 innings of work, and the memories of his three blown saves early in the season may still remain in the forefront of your mind every time he clutters the diamond with baserunners.
Late last month, after Gregg walked a total of five batters in back-to-back appearances, Orioles manager Buck Showalter admitted that he was also concerned with his closer’s disdain for the strike zone. “Those things will come back and bite you,” he said. Since June 1, Gregg hasn’t given away a free pass.
Your turn: Now that he is finally finding the strike zone, do you feel comfortable when Kevin Gregg trots in from the bullpen? Or are you still chugging Alka-Seltzer and bracing for the worst when he gets the call with the game on the line?