BALTIMORE -- Tommy Hunter has been steady out of the Orioles' bullpen this season, thanks in part to his mid-90s fastball.
Since he gave up two earned runs in an inning against the Red Sox in his third appearance of the season, Hunter has been rolling. In 30 1/3 innings pitched since that outing entering Monday, he's given up just four earned runs and struck out 24 batters to go with five walks.
He credits Baltimore bullpen coach Billy Castro with helping him emerge as a trusted option out of the 'pen.
"Billy Castro has been helping me out a lot," Hunter said. "Sitting down here and going over pitch selection, I guess. So making a better pitch selection is making me into a better pitcher, I guess. I mean, that's the only thing I can really attribute it to."
Compared with his career numbers, Hunter is striking out a higher percentage of batters, walking fewer batters and giving up a lower percentage of extra-base hits. Has he changed his pitch variety this season?
"Nope, just starting to spot up some different pitches and everything is starting to work right now," he said. "It's a fun time, kind of like a hitter clicking -- I guess I'm clicking as a pitcher. Hopefully, like I said, that continues."
He's a former starter and he said being a reliever is more difficult because he has to be ready to pitch every night and prepare for three teams on a road trip.
When things are going well for him, he said it's because he keeps the ball low in the strike zone and has a good mix of pitches to work with. He also said the defense has been stellar behind him so far this season, which is a big reason some of the balls put into play have been turned into outs instead of falling for hits.
Derek Wetmore is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.