Among the theories out there about why O’s relief pitcher Pedro Strop has struggled this season is that he pitched often in the World Baseball Classic.
Strop pitched six times in a 13-day span between March 7-19 for the Dominican Republic in the tourney and he pitched very well. He went 6 2/3 innings, allowing just three hits and no runs with no walks and seven strikeouts.
Now he has an ERA of 5.79 with the Orioles, has struggled to throw consistent strikes, walking nine over 11 innings, and has a WHIP of 1.64.
When asked if the WBC was a factor with his struggles, Strop said he wasn’t certain but also was honest to say he couldn’t rule it completely out either.
“I don’t know because it was my first WBC and I don’t have any other experience with it,” he said. “But I felt real good pitching then. I don’t know what to tell you about it.
“If you go in the WBC and pitch a lot and come to your team and feel a little sore or something, you can look at that. But I don’t feel anything wrong with my arm. My arm feels good.
“Maybe the high intensity of the games and you go back to lower intensity in spring training, maybe it changed something with mechanics. I’m not saying that is what happened, but maybe. Who knows?”
Strop has had recent outings where he threw just three strikes in 11 pitches, eight out of 20 pitches and, most recently on Sunday at Anaheim, went 2 /3 of an inning, throwing 10 pitches, five for strikes.
“I’ve been working hard trying to figure out what is different since last year. Been getting the feel back and things feel pretty good now,” he said.
Strop said there has been one mechanical issue that he has been able to pinpoint.
“I have been opening my front side too early,” he said. “Been working to stay closed as much as possible. I’m still doing it a little bit sometimes, but hopefully I can now realize when it happens.
“Sometimes, the adrenaline of the game can make you try to do too much. Because you care so much about the team and want to do good. That can make you overthrow. This game is not easy. But you have to be able to correct what you do wrong.”
Strop added that he does feel his last few outings have been closer to how he was throwing for much of last year.