Miguel Gonzalez returns to the Orioles rotation tonight for the first time since May 3 when he left after six innings and 80 pitches in Anaheim with a right thumb blister.
He was activated off the disabled list today and will face a team he has had success against in the New York Yankees.
In 2012, Gonzalez went 2-0 with a 2.63 ERA in two regular season starts at New York, posting wins July 30 and Aug. 31. He became the first rookie starter to beat the Yankees on their own field twice within a span of 33 days since the Orioles' Tom Phoebus did it on July 17 and Aug. 16, 1967.
Gonzalez faced New York this season on April 12 at Yankee Stadium and took the loss despite giving up just five hits and three runs (two earned) over six innings.
His 2.75 ERA against the Yankees is the fifth-best in the regular season against the team since the start of the 2012 season behind only Justin Masterson (2.08), Felix Hernandez (2.17), Alex Cobb (2.42) and Felix Doubront (2.52). This doesn't even include his start in Game 3 of the ALDS when he gave up just one run over seven innings at New York.
Gonzalez had a short and direct answer when quizzed yesterday about his success against the pinstriped team.
"Staying focused. Pitching every pitch with a purpose and following (Matt) Wieters with whatever he puts down. I think having that confidence is the most important thing," he said.
In 14 career starts against the AL East, Gonzalez is 8-3 with an ERA of 3.69 and 10 quality starts.
A struggling O's rotation is happy to welcome him back tonight, hoping he doesn't show any rust and that the blister doesn't become an issue again.
Updated: Gonzalez has pitched pretty well through five innings. No issues with the blister that we can tell and at times, he's been looking like the 2012 Gonzalez. He has allowed four hits and two runs, retiring the side in order three times.
Travis Hafner, who entered this series with just three hits in his last 21 at-bats, is 2-for-2 with two RBIs after hitting that game-tying homer in the ninth last night.
Chris Dickerson has hit two solo homers for the Orioles, one in the third and one in the fifth. He produces the first multi-homer game of his career against his former team.