A third look at Gonzalez in the rotation (and Guthrie note)

It may come as a shock to many of you, but the Orioles don't have any current plans to adjust their rotation.

Continue to breathe normally.

Wei-Yin Chen got the start and a much-needed win yesterday. Miguel Gonzalez, Chris Tillman, Zach Britton and Tommy Hunter will make the starts against the Indians in a four-game series that begins tonight.

Then it's back home, and back to Chen.

Unless the Orioles pull off a trade for a starter, they're not sitting atop a pile of pitching options.

Brian Matusz starts tonight for Triple-A Norfolk, and while he's only a phone call away, the Orioles have put him on hold. They contemplated giving him the ball two nights ago in Minnesota before handing it to Hunter. They think he needs a little more time in the minors.

Jake Arrieta has made only one start with the Tides since being demoted, allowing three runs and six hits in five innings against Rochester. There's no way he's rushing back here unless an injury or two open up spots.

Jason Berken started yesterday for Norfolk and surrendered seven runs and nine hits in four innings. Coincidentally, he allowed seven runs and nine hits in 4 2/3 innings against Columbus on June 29. But he's been good enough in his other outings that he's carrying a 3.80 ERA this season, and the Orioles considered him for a recent promotion if he hadn't pitched seven innings on July 14, eliminating him from consideration.

Steve Johnson allowed one run over six innings Wednesday night and was lined up to take Hunter's next turn if the right-hander hadn't been so impressive in Minnesota, but it's not known if he'll remain in the rotation down there, since he's been in and out of it so many times this season.

Johnson is currently scheduled to start again on Monday, after Dana Eveland gets the ball on Sunday. He should be fine unless the Orioles sign Rollie Fingers to a minor league deal and decide to stretch him out as a starter.

miguel-gonzalez-white-side-throwing-sidebar.jpgGonzalez will make his third start tonight, and the results so far have been mixed. He dominated the Angels on July 6, holding them to one run and three hits over seven innings, but he allowed three runs and six hits, and issued five walks, in 5 2/3 innings against the Tigers on Sunday.

Maybe it was the long layoff. Maybe that's just Gonzalez. We're still learning about him.

So are the Indians. They faced him once this season, when Gonzalez came out of the bullpen on July 1, and managed only one run in 4 1/3 innings. That outing convinced manager Buck Showalter that Gonzalez should enter the rotation.

The Orioles are 23-1 when their starter goes seven innings or more, the latest win coming yesterday.

Derek Lowe, who starts for Cleveland tonight, has posted a 6.71 ERA in his last 10 games, but he's held opponents to three runs or fewer in three of his last four and four of six. He made one start against the Orioles this season and gave up seven runs (four earned) and six hits, with three walks, in 5 1/3 innings. He's 8-8 with a 4.49 ERA against them in his career.

Mark Reynolds is 8-for-24 with two doubles, a triple, one home run and five RBIs against Lowe.

Lowe had been around a while. Cal Ripken is 0-for-9 against him. B.J. Surhoff is 10-for-22.

As long as I'm throwing a bunch of numbers at you, the Orioles are 20-50 at Progressive Field (formerly Jacobs Field).

Chris Richard matched a club record with 13 total bases there on Sept. 3, 2000. Chris Hoiles hit two grand slams there on Aug. 14, 1998, making him only the ninth player in major league history to accomplish the feat. Ripken collected his 2,849th hit there on Aug. 21, 1998 to move past Brooks Robinson as the Orioles' all-time hits leader.

Maybe Gonzalez can do something special tonight, like giving the Orioles their third consecutive quality start. It would have seemed preposterous earlier this week.

NOTE: FOX Sports is reporting that the Rockies traded former Orioles pitcher Jeremy Guthrie to the Royals for left-hander Jonathan Sanchez.

Guthrie is 3-9 with a 6.35 ERA in 19 games, including 15 starts. He's surrendered 21 home runs in 90 2/3 innings.

The Orioles dealt Guthrie to the Rockies over the winter for pitchers Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom.

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