No offense, no relief

The offense is back. Or it isn't.

Pick a night.

The Orioles scored 16 runs in their last two games before last night, but Scott Baker shut them out for seven innings, and they managed only one run on Vladimir Guerrero's infield hit off Jim Hoey.

It's especially disturbing when you consider that they didn't score after the third inning in Wednesday night's 5-4 victory.

That's one run in 14 innings.

The No. 2 hitter, Nick Markakis is batting .203. No. 3 hitter Derrek Lee is batting .209. No. 5 hitter Luke Scott is batting .190. No. 6 hitter Adam Jones is batting .222. No. 7 hitter Mark Reynolds is batting .186.

When do the track records kick in here?

As long as we're having a side order of "disturbing" with our breakfast, left-hander Michael Gonzalez has allowed runs in five of his six appearances this season, and he hasn't gone more than 1 1/3 innings in any game, so the damage comes quickly.

Gonzalez left last night's game to a chorus of boos after retiring only two batters in the eighth and serving up Michael Cuddyer's home run. He kept his head down and disappeared into the dugout.

There are plenty of fans who want him to disappear from the roster, but he's owed $6 million this year. The Orioles aren't swallowing that much cash three weeks into the season. And yes, I'll remind everyone again that he posted a 2.78 ERA in 26 appearances last year after the break.

The Orioles are waiting for that Gonzalez to resurface. In the meantime, it's a good idea to keep Clay Rapada as a second left-hander.

Rapada warmed up last night, but Gonzalez ended up in the game.

Gonzalez has given up home runs in back-to-back outings, and he woke up today with a 10.80 ERA.

That's last-call ugly.

"Mike's had four days off," manager Buck Showalter said after the game. "Obviously, that wasn't the story of why we lost, but we know Mike's capable of pitching better. It's going to be hard doing it just sitting down there. But he's better than that. He showed that the last month or so of the season. But we'll see. He's got to get better and he knows that."

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