Taking another look at Patton and Strop

Jim Johnson's slumps are the most noticeable in the Orioles' bullpen because he's the closer. Leads and games are usually lost if he surrenders a run or more.

He's not looking for company in the misery department, but he's got it.

Troy Patton replaced starter Kevin Gausman last night and issued back-to-back walks, including one to the Blue Jays' No. 9 hitter, Munenori Kawasaki, that started the trouble. He was charged with two runs when Pedro Strop served up Edwin Encarnacion's grand slam.

Patton has allowed 13 runs (11 earned) and 21 hits in 20 2/3 innings, with 12 walks and 10 strikeouts.

Patton has walked 10 batters in his last 11 appearances over 12 2/3 innings. In his last five outings, he's allowed seven runs and nine hits in 6 2/3 innings, with four walks and four strikeouts. In his last three games, he's allowed five runs and five hits in 3 2/3 innings, with three walks and three strikeouts.

Patton walked 12 batters in 55 2/3 innings last season. He's walked 12 in 20 2/3 innings this season.

The leash on Patton is long for a couple of reasons. He posted a 2.43 ERA in 54 appearances last season, and he's out of minor league options. But his control issues are puzzling.

Strop has been charged with four runs and three hits, with three walks, in his last two appearances covering one inning, after surrendering only one earned run over 13 outings. I'm not sure that I've seen him repeat his delivery on consecutive pitches.

Strop is battling the hitter at the plate and he's fighting himself. He misses badly and almost does a 360-degree spin on the mound. His frustration is way too evident, and his 6.11 ERA is way too cumbersome.

He doesn't seem to know where the ball is going, but I know that he's not going to Triple-A Norfolk unless the Orioles are willing to designate him for assignment and he clears waivers.

I should have included "Why don't the Orioles send Strop to Norfolk?" in my "Because You Asked" entry. I can't stress enough that he's out of options. It's not as simple as just sending him down to work on his mechanics and confidence.

Even during the stretch when he gave up only one earned run, Strop walked eight batters and kept manager Buck Showalter on the edge of his bench.

Showalter is handling Rule 5 pick T.J. McFarland with care. He needs Patton and Strop to become more reliable. There are only so many non-pressure situations to go around.

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