I wonder if Miguel Gonzalez will have some extra motivation for tonight's game. He'll be pitching against his previous organization, Boston, tonight.
It's not that the Red Sox let him go, though. In fact, they signed him away from the Angels as a Rule 5 pick in December of 2008. Then he needed Tommy John surgery and spent the entire 2009 season on their major league roster without pitching an inning.
Last year, Gonzalez pitched at three levels on the Red Sox farm, with most of his innings coming at Double-A and he went 0-7 with an ERA of 5.40.
So how did he go from that to becoming an Oriole and now pitching so well for Baltimore?
The Orioles executive director of international recruiting Fred Ferreira saw him pitch in winter ball in Mexico in November and December where he went 5-0 with an ERA of 2.53 and fanned 44 in 42 2/3 innings. The Orioles signed him, but not until February 28, after spring training had already started.
Some say his fastball has gained a few miles per hour this year and he's throwing 92 and 93 now. It could be that it just took a while for the velocity to increase after the Tommy John surgery but the guy has been huge for this team at a time when Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta and Zach Britton are in the minors.
Gonazlez is 4-2 with an ERA of 3.42 for the Orioles and he has allowed just one run on eight hits over 15 innings in his past two starts. He has held lefty batters to a batting average of .256 this year and right-handed batters to a .200 mark.
The 27-year-old Gonzalez was born May 27, 1984 in Guadalajara, Mexico. He is one of 12 Mexican-born players in the major leagues this year, joined by Alfredo Aceves, Luis Ayala, Luis Cruz, Marco Estrada, Yovani Gallardo, Jaime Garcia, Rodrigo Lopez, Luis Mendoza, Ramiro Pena, Oliver Perez and Fernando Salas.
Last year he was pitching for Boston. Tonight he'll try to beat Boston and continue his pretty surprising 2012 success story.
He's been good through four: Gonzalez has allowed no runs and two hits to Boston through the top of the fourth of a 0-0 game. He pitched out of a two on, one-out jam in the first getting Adrian Gonzalez to fly out and he fanned Cody Ross.
Gonzalez needed to throw 25 pitches in the first, but has used just 41 combined over the last three frames for a total of 66.
This is his second game this year against his former club. On June 7, he pitched four innings in relief vs. the Red Sox and gave up just two hits and one run.