When I first met Kevin Gregg in spring training in Sarasota, Fla., I was immediately impressed with his demeanor. He was polite, engaging, confident and eager to help the Orioles move up in the standings.
As the season has progressed, Gregg has proven to be effective as the Orioles closer despite "living on the edge" in several save opportunities.
Gregg has his style and he refuses to change his way and give in to hitters. He has tremendous confidence in his ability to get out of a jam, even if he allowed the base runners to reach creating the jam.
Gregg lives on the black of the plate. The middle of the plate is off limits to the best of his ability. And when his command is sharp, the middle of the plate doesn't exist.
To Gregg, it doesn't matter that he has walked 18 batters and allowed 20 hits in his first 25-games. What matters is he has 12 saves, getting the final three outs to close out 12 Orioles wins.
Over the last 18 days, Gregg is pitching his best baseball of the season. In his last seven appearances Gregg has been dominant with seven consecutive scoreless outings.
Here are Gregg's numbers in his last seven games: (0-0) 0.00 (0 runs, three hits, six strikeouts, six walks)
Gregg has also converted all five save opportunities over that stretch and has six saves in his last seven attempts. It's been almost a month since his last blown save on May 16.
Through Wednesday's games, Gregg is right there with the other closers in the American League East.
Jonathan Papelbon - Boston 12 saves /13 opportunities
Kyle Farnsworth -Tampa Bay 13/14
Mariano Rivera - New York 16/19
Kevin Gregg - Baltimore 12/15
Frank Francisco/Jon Rauch -Toronto 12/17
Every closer wants to be successful in every save opportunity. But it's tough to achieve. With just three blown saves in 15 opportunities, Gregg is doing his job. Of the 30 major league teams there are only three closers without a blown save
Joel Hanrahan - Pittsburgh 15/15
Jose Valverde - Detroit 15/15
Ryan Madson - Philadelphia 14/14
Gregg may live on the edge and make some game endings exciting, but he has the ability to get out of jams. He lives on the black of the plate by design and he's doing exactly what the Orioles hoped he would do when they signed him.