Strop put together back-to-back scoreless innings against Tampa Bay on Tuesday and Wednesday, and thinks he may now be back on track. Strop said he made a slight mechanical adjustment, said he is mentally tough and thinks the combination of the two will help to keep him pitching well.
“For some reason, I was struggling with my command a little bit. But you cannot let that take you out of your track. I was a little wild a bit, but I’ve worked hard and watched some videos to see what I’ve been doing. I found out what I was doing wrong,” Strop said.
“My hand was not on top of the ball enough, it was more on the side and that is why the ball was running. I’m working on fixing that. That is normal (to have some mechanical issues), but you have to be able to find out as quickly as possible what is wrong. I knew something was wrong. I was feeling off and so I checked some video to compare a bad outing with a good one. Rick (Adair, O’s pitching coach) and (bullpen coach Bill) Castro helped me.”
Strop has had an ERA of 8.00 over 12 games since Aug. 18. But earlier he also had scoreless streaks of 14 2/3 and 16 1/3 innings. This year, left-handed batters hit just .236 off him and right-handed hitters are batting only .177.
“I was confident that I would find a way to handle this and that is what I’m doing now,” he said. “It can test your confidence but I’ve been through a lot in the minors and I feel I’m mentally strong. Getting frustrated won’t help you fix anything. Just relax.”
Strop said his bullpen teammates have lent him support during the struggles.
“Jim Johnson talked to me. He said, ‘Chill out and relax’. Luis Ayala. We’ve got great teammates here, it’s a good group. As reliever, you have to stay confident. If you have a bad outing today, you may be back in there tomorrow. You have to be tough mentally,” Strop said.