Miguel Gonzalez takes the mound today at Rogers Centre in Toronto, his second start since coming off the disabled list. The Orioles would settle for a repeat of the first, when he limited the Yankees to two runs over seven innings, with no walks and five strikeouts.
Gonzalez is 2-1 with a 4.37 ERA in four career games (three starts) against the Blue Jays, with four walks and 14 strikeouts in 22 2/3 innings. He faced them April 23 and allowed three runs and five hits in six innings.
Adam Lind is 4-for-8 against Gonzalez. Edwin Encarnacion has two hits in nine at-bats, both home runs.
Orioles starters have gone five innings in each of the last three games after stringing together four straight quality starts.
The bullpen no longer includes Pedro Strop, who went on the 15-day disabled list yesterday with a strained lower back. He won’t be back in 15 days. That’s pretty much a certainty.
The Orioles need Strop to go down to Norfolk and work out his problems. He’s out of minor league options. If there’s a good time to be injured, this is it.
The Orioles could keep him on an injury-rehab assignment for 30 days. However long it takes. Not to sound harsh, but he’s not doing the club any good right now.
His mechanics seem to be out of whack, whether from his back injury or something else, and his confidence must be eroding.
Some fans are questioning whether Strop is really hurt. They envision him being summoned into manager Buck Showalter’s office and convinced that he needed to go on the disabled list.
Buck: “How’s your back?”
Pedro: “Fine, thanks.”
Buck: “No, it isn’t.”
Pedro: “It isn’t?”
Buck: “No. You’re hurt.”
Pedro: “I am? When did that happen?”
Buck: “Just now.”
Pedro: “Man, I didn’t even notice.”
Buck: “It’s strained.”
Buck: “Not stained, Petey. Strained.”
Pedro: “Oh. So, what does that mean?”
Buck: “It means we’ll see you in about 45 days.”
It didn’t go down that way and Strop could return a lot sooner, but the Orioles gained flexibility when his back stiffened. Both sides can benefit here.
Down on the farm, left-hander Zach Britton allowed two runs (one earned) and seven hits in seven innings last night for Triple-A Norfolk. He walked two, struck out eight and hit a batter.
Britton threw 91 pitches, 61 for strikes, before Jake Arrieta relieved him in the eighth.
Arrieta, making his first appearance since May 7, took the loss after allowing two runs (one earned) and one hit in his only inning, with two walks, one strikeout and a wild pitch. He threw 24 pitches, 11 for strikes.
Catcher Luis Exposito had two more passed balls, increasing his season total to six. Brandon Wood committed his fourth error in 13 games.