Without revealing the names, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he had two or three relievers that he wasn't going to use today.
Pedro Strop wasn't on that list.
Strop allowed two inherited runners to score and four of his own in the Orioles' 9-5 loss to the Angels before 25,964 at Camden Yards.
The seventh inning unraveled after Strop, inheriting two runners from starter Jason Hammel with no outs, leaping for Hank Conger's high chopper and failed to make a play. If he doesn't touch the ball, Showalter believes the Orioles would have turned a 6-3 double play.
Erick Aybar followed with a triple and scored on Ryan Flaherty's throwing error on the relay, Albert Pujols hit a two-run homer and Strop was booed again on his way to the dugout, his ERA an unsightly 7.58.
"He's just not getting results," Showalter said. "He understands it. Nobody cares more about pitching well for this team than Pete. And it's frustrating for us because he's a pitch away, and little things like that seem to ... just can't catch something going your way. He makes a really good pitch, the ball that he couldn't make the play at first on but jumped up for. Sometimes it comes right back to you to get an out.
"There's a lot of things. I know that's probably a focus today, and rightfully so. I understand that, but Ham worked his way through six-plus and gave us a good chance to win. We'd like to have taken advantage of it a little bit."
Asked whether Strop reverted to pre-disabled list form today, Showalter replied, "Not necessarily. Got a double play ball. Can't fault him. Your first instinct, especially as athletic as he is, that's a 6-3 double play and you've got a chance to get out of the inning, but we didn't. He actually made a decent pitch to Aybar. He just went down and got it. But that's kind of the way it is when things aren't going your way.
"It's tough to fault him for trying to make the play. But playing pull side there and might have gotten two out of that one. A lot of other things happened in that game."
Showalter explained how he can't shy away from Strop, no matter the struggles, and risk burning out his bullpen.
"We can't pitch the same guys every night," he said. "It just doesn't work, and Pete was one of those guys for us last year and has been at times this year, and we hope that he will again. He pitched well and got physically fine and had a couple really good outings, as you saw. It just wasn't there for him today. A deflection and some things got away from him. These guys aren't robots. They have emotions, too.
"I had two or three guys I wasn't going to use today. I'm not going to broadcast that to the team that's coming in or whatever. We've got to get nine outs there. I was hoping Ham could get us through seven, but it wasn't there. That's kind of where we were. We keep a pretty good log on innings pitched and ups and I'm not going to put anybody in harm's way."
Showalter rated Hammel's performance as "OK."
"Command got away from him a couple times, but he got back in step," Showalter said. "You hold them to two runs in six innings, it's hard to do. It's really hard to do, especially after beating them the first two games. But it's a good club over there. We had our hands full."