Apr 27, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Baltimore Orioles pitcher Pedro Strop (47) reacts after throwing a wild pitch against the Oakland Athletics in the ninth inning at O.Co Coliseum. The Orioles defeated the Athletics 7-3. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Orioles: Strop on a Rope

Yep, he’s on a rope alright with the fans right now – like on a noose. Lots of Orioles fans would also like to see his head on the proverbial silver platter. I personally hear this “time to dump Pedro Strop” sort of “he’s gotta go” comments from Orioles fans who are friends of mine – more than all other comments put together. Is that fair?

All of this is of course stimulated by Strop’s 7th inning meltdown today. Inheriting the first two runners from Hammel, Pete allowed both to score while giving up four more runs of his own. A 4-2 lead turned into an 8-4 deficit faster than Adam Jones can prepare a shaving cream pie. Do we have here a new “Captain Chaos?”

Call me crazy and write me off maybe, but I’m going to stick with the guy a bit longer. Would the Orioles have won that game today with some other person from the pen brought into that situation? Maybe, but not certainly.

So how can any Orioles writer defend a guy with a 7.58 ERA with 15 walks in 19 innings and a WHIP of 1.79?  Well, it ain’t easy, but here’s the deal …

The guy does something that maybe only about 2% of professional baseball players can do – throw the ball close to 100 mph. You can’t just teach that skill. Yes, I realize he does not often know where it is going. Maybe I’m just a softie because, unlike most of you younger readers, I’ve lived through Mitch Williams in a previous baseball life (look up his stats and nickname if you only know him as an analyst.)

Beyond velocity, Strop proved over an extended period last year that he can be effective at a very high level of performance. Likely some of these current critics were among those calling him “the closer of the future” at this time a year ago. A nice-sized fraction of the run of success the Orioles had in 2012 should accrue to his credit.

I cannot explain why he is faltering so terribly right now. I am not close enough to the team to know; and it strikes me that the group of writers with daily access to the team is equally baffled. Perhaps the management and coaches are as well … likely so.

Did Strop wear out toward the end of last year? Probably – sure looked that way. So, could anyone imagine the remedy for that being to play winter ball and then pitch in the World Baseball Classic?  Of course not! But that is what happened. So, “Pedro, how’d that work out for ya?”  And why is anyone really surprised?

I believe it is likely that Strop will again find the level of performance he had over the first two-thirds of last year. Will that be soon? Next year? I don’t know. But it is a big problem for the Orioles to figure out. They cannot send him down without running him through waivers, where he would surely be claimed … and, if you follow this train of thought, he would likely find his stuff again and end up pitching someday against the Orioles. It is a conundrum. It is not that easy to just say it is time to move on.

So, I think the Birds have to play this out a bit longer, as difficult as that sounds. I’m not ready for his head, but I’m willing to place an online order for the silver platter in the event it may be needed.

So, Birds Watcher readers … what do you think about Strop and what should be done?

Tags: Baltimore Orioles Pedro Strop

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