Talking about Strop and VandenHurk

Managers always warn us not to fall in love with spring training or September stats.

I have a man crush on Pedro Strop’s pitching line.

Strop blanked the Blue Jays in the eighth inning last night to pass a 2-0 lead to Jim Johnson, who recorded the save. He’s allowed one hit over 4 1/3 scoreless innings since the Orioles claimed him off waivers from the Texas Rangers.

With Johnson moving into the closer’s role for one night, the Orioles needed somebody to be the set-up man in the eighth. And hey, it’s not like manager Buck Showalter is flush with alternatives. He may as well go with the hot new hand.

By the way, how many of you were curious about Showalter’s decision to move Robert Andino to second base after taking a 2-0 lead and insert Josh Bell at third base?

Andino is considered a defensive upgrade over Adams, but is Bell an upgrade over Andino at third?

Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Depends which Bell you’re getting. But I’m trusting Andino at the hot corner.

There isn’t much left for the Orioles to play for over the final month besides pride and evaluating certain guys. Today, it’s Rick VandenHurk’s turn.

VandenHurk gets the call over Jo-Jo Reyes and Brian Matusz. He’s out of minor league options. He’s been outrighted once and put back on the 40-man roster. The Orioles need to find out whether he’s the same pitcher who couldn’t find the plate in spring training, or the one who seemed to find his stride down the stretch at Triple-A Norfolk.

VandenHurk pitched six innings in spring training and allowed nine earned runs (12 total) and 10 hits, with eight walks. It was painful to watch at times. He can’t erase that memory today, but he can blur it a little.

The Orioles get another shot at Blue Jays rookie Henderson Alvarez, who shut them out on three singles over eight innings on Aug. 31, with no walks and five strikeouts. Adams, Andino and Vladimir Guerrero had the hits.

I’ll close with another shameless plug alert: I’m appearing on “Wall To Wall Baseball” from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on MASN.

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