Wednesday afternoon was a case study in frustration if you are an Orioles fan.
The Orioles faced the Los Angeles Angels and were hoping a series sweep. Despite their talent level, the Angels have been lackluster this season, but they took advantage a Baltimore pitcher during the top of the seventh inning.
The pitcher on the mound for the Orioles: Pedro Strop.
That name has caused fans to react with occasional outbursts of anger all season long.
When Strop came into the game, the Orioles were leading 4-2. However, the Angels would turn their deficit into an 8-4 lead.
During the deciding frame, Los Angeles plated six runs, thanks to an Erick Aybar triple, along with a Ryan Flaherty error. Moments later, Albert Pujols lowered the boom with a home run.
The Angels salvaged the finale of the three-game series in Baltimore, winning 9-5.
A game that the Orioles could have potentially won became a laugher, and a lot of fans were pointing the finger at Strop when it was over. The fans let him know what they thought of his performance on the mound by serenading him with boos.
Strop only lasted one-third of an inning, was charged with four runs, allowed three hits, walked one and threw 20 pitches. Only 11 of them were strikes. He was a critical part in the success of the Orioles in 2012; since September of that season, he has struggled mightily.
Well, being a reliever in the big leagues from year to year can be much like the stock market and investing: unpredictable and volatile.
In 2012, Strop had 5-2 record with a 2.44 ERA. He did a bang-up job serving as a bridge to Jim Johnson to preserve games for the Orioles.
In 2013, he is 0-3 with a 7.58 ERA. Strop has pitched 19 innings so far this season and has struck out 19 batters, along with walking 15.
Instead of being an important piece of the Baltimore bullpen, he may only be trusted in a mop-up spot right now.
Strop became the topic of conversation and overshadowed everything that the Orioles accomplished that day.
Last year, during his amazing run in the bullpen, I wondered, “How in the world did the Texas Rangers ever let this guy go?”
The sentiment about Strop in my mind this week is, “Ugh, can he be sent to the minors or something?”
The answer is no.
He does not have any options left; therefore, if designated for assignment and then exposed to waivers, the right-hander would be snapped up by another organization. They would exercise patience with him and try to figure out what is wrong.
That move would potentially bite the Orioles in the you-know-where.
The stint on the disabled list did not seem to help matters, so perhaps Strop just needs get into a groove and go back to the basics.
I’m sure he is working hard to figure out what is wrong. However, in a performance-based business where you are judged by your results, it is all going wrong for the reliever in 2013.
Strop has shown that he can do the job on the mound with the Baltimore bullpen, but he has to be consistent and find the form that helped him get guys out in 2012.
At this point, manager Buck Showalter will have to work with Strop to see where he is faltering.
Now, they have to get him to succeed.
As to when Strop will resemble the guy from last season - who knows?
Anthony Amobi blogs about the Orioles at Oriole Post. His observations about the O’s appear as part of MASNsports.com’s season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our site. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.