ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – When Brad Brach came into the eighth inning of a one-run game on Thursday night, there were questions. Why wasn’t Darren O’Day in the game?
When O’Day came in for the ninth, it was assumed that Zach Britton was getting a day off. Britton and O’Day had both pitched in three consecutive games and had Wednesday off.
“Everyone at this point in the season has got a little something going on. With the three days of throwing, and I got warmed up the day before, just trying to give me two days,” Britton said.
Obviously, we were hoping it was a situation where I didn’t need to pitch yesterday. We kind of stuck with the plan, and he gave me another day, and I’ll be ready to go today.”
Showalter told Britton in advance he wouldn’t be pitching, and it was appreciated.
“I think I kind of needed those two days with the workload that I had and then just being ready to go for the rest of the season.”
Britton is 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA with 33 saves.
“Everyone’s got something they’re dealing with right now, but it’s nothing that’s going to keep me off the field tonight. I’m ready to go,” Britton said.
Britton has thrown three days in a row twice this season, on Sept. 6-8 and Sept. 13-15. He did it twice last season.
It wasn’t easy watching O’Day. Bullpen coach Dom Chiti noticed Britton’s uneasiness.
“I think you’re more nervous out here watching Darren than you are pitching. It was funny. It’s been a while since I’d seen that. It was good for Darren and good to get in there. We have guys that are capable of doing that, whether it’s me or Darren or Brad,” Britton said.
“When you have options down there, it’s nice, you can give a guy that,” Britton said.
With the team not playing as well this year as last year, Britton’s workload is different than it was last year.
“Next year, I have two different seasons to base off how I’m going to feel in different situations, which is all about learning and adjusting. That’s what’s going on there,” Britton said.