Tonight, Gonzalez allowed three runs (two earned) and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings, with four walks and four strikeouts, in a 7-4 loss to the Rays. He threw 112 pitches before coming out of the game, including eight in the first inning.
“That was a tough one,” he said. “First inning was great, and then I just had to battle the other innings. It’s tough to pitch against a team that is playing good. They got three infield hits and a couple broken-bat base hits. That’s a tough one to swallow.”
Gonzalez said he wasn’t tiring as the game moved into the middle innings.
“No, I was still going,” he said. “I was sweating, sweating a lot, but that’s just me. And Buck (Showalter) knows what he’s doing. T.J. McFarland came in and did the job. You tip your hat to him. He went 2 2/3 and I was glad he went that much. He has been good the whole year for us. It just happens.”
For whatever reason, Gonzalez kept elevating his pitches.
“Yeah, it was a little tough for me to bring them down,” he said. “I was doing as much as possible to try and do it. Bring the ball down. It was just one of those outings.
“I’ve just got to keep grinding. Keep your head up and keep working on what you need to do between starts. I think it’s a long season and I think we’ve been playing real good, real good ballgames. Tonight was tough, last night was tough. I’ve just got to keep grinding. Keep my head up. That’s real important.”
Showalter will continue to provide extra rest for Gonzalez whenever possible, especially with only one off-day in September.
“It’s been helping me out the whole year,” Gonzalez said. “Buck’s good with that. I’ve just got to keep staying focused and try to win some ballgames.”
The Orioles have lost six of their last eight and are fighting to stay in the wild card race. They’ll try to avoid being swept on Wednesday.
“It’s not the position we would prefer to find ourselves in after the first two games of the series, that’s for sure, but there’s still plenty of baseball left for us to make up some ground,” said Nate McLouth. “It’s not ideal at all, but we won’t let this game affect tomorrow’s game.”
Of course, each loss is magnified at this point in the season.
“I think if you look at it like that, it kind of puts more pressure on you, even though they’re extremely important games,” McLouth said. “If you come out tomorrow and say we’ve got to win tonight’s game to make up for last night’s game, I don’t think that’s the right way to look at it, either.”