Gonzalez the right man on the mound

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Miguel Gonzalez is the only confirmed starter for the Orioles the rest of the week. He's taking the mound tonight.

When it comes to revealing his other starters, manager Buck Showalter is taking the fifth.

I've broken down the possible scenarios, including Chris Tillman starting on Wednesday in a must-win situation. Confirmation should come later today.

Showalter dropped Dylan Bundy's name on reporters yesterday, a sly grin spreading across his face. He decided to have a little fun with us anyway, but we wouldn't bite.

As for Gonzalez, he's 5-2 with a 3.12 ERA and five quality starts in eight road games. His worst outing of his brief major league career came against the Rays on July 25 at Camden Yards, when he allowed seven runs and seven hits in 2 2/3 innings, but he held them to two hits over seven scoreless innings on Aug. 5 at Tropicana Field and two runs over six innings on Sept. 12 at Camden Yards.

In his last three starts, Gonzalez has surrendered six earned runs and 18 hits in 19 1/3 innings.

The Orioles are 70-21 when their starter goes six innings or more, and 37-2 when they go seven or more. Gonzalez will try to hang another victory.

If the Orioles win tonight and Wednesday, they can do no worse than host a wild card game. Oakland would win the American League West with two more victories. The Orioles would have a better record than the Rangers.

Another reason for the Orioles to just focus on their own business.

James Shields is 9-6 with a 3.70 ERA lifetime against the Orioles, but he allowed five runs and six hits in six innings on July 26, and six runs (four earned) and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings on May 13. Both games were in Baltimore.

Adam Jones is 13-for-36 (.361) with five doubles, one triple, one home run and six RBIs against Shields. Chris Davis is 3-for-9 with a double, homer and five RBIs. Jim Thome is 9-for-27 with a homer.

Davis has homered in five straight games, bashing six during the stretch. He can become the first Oriole to homer in six consecutive games since Reggie Jackson in 1976.

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