Darren O’Day is set apart from other relievers by his sidearm delivery, his own version of the “Ole” song, and his 0.92 ERA, among other things. And he can add another to the list.
“I have a couple things going for me, and now I have a T-shirt,” O’Day said Wednesday, when the Orioles gave out orange T-shirts with his “O’Day” song and a silhouette logo of his sidearm delivery. “It’s pretty exciting. I never expected a T-shirt.”
O’Day pitched a scoreless ninth inning in the Orioles’ 3-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, his 10th scoreless outing in a row. He has allowed one run in 14 appearances since the All-Star break, and he has struck out more than one batter per inning this season.
Before the game, O'Day acknowledged how rare it was for a relief pitcher to be highlighted in such a way, but he said he hoped it opened fans’ eyes to relievers other than closers.
“I hope they appreciate the bullpen guys, not just the closer -- the guys that get the closer in the game,” O’Day said. “Middle relievers don’t get T-shirts, so I understand the significance of it.”
Manager Buck Showalter was happy to hear of the promotion.
“I’m glad he’s being recognized,” Showalter said. “If you just throw a blanket over all relief pitchers, you can make a case there’s nobody in baseball having a better year out of the bullpen than Darren O’Day.
“If you get your ERA under [1.00] with those amount of appearances -- you’re not sneaking up on anybody. They all know what he features, they all know what he’s trying to do, and when something’s expected of you and you can still deliver it, and when everybody knows what you’re going to do and you’re still successful at it, that’s hard to do up here, because there are no secrets.”
O’Day, in turn, said Showalter is one of the best managers in baseball at deploying his bullpen, a unit that O’Day said is more complete than the 2012 edition.
“There’s managers that can sabotage a year the way they handle the bullpen, especially early in the season,” O’Day said. “And there’s others that can make it a real strength. Like I said, Buck is doing an excellent job.”