Baltimore Orioles: What to make of Miguel Gonzalez?

Courtesy of Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports
Courtesy of Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports /

Should the Baltimore Orioles be concerned with the performance of Miguel Gonzalez in spring training thus far?

Remember folks, the end result of a loss isn’t important in the Baltimore Orioles’ 14-5 loss to Minnesota this afternoon. But what should be somewhat of a concern are the spring struggles of Miguel Gonzalez thus far in the spring. Gonzalez said after his outing that his mechanics were off today, however his start today was the second poor one out of three. Gonzalez’s line: 1.2 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 3 BB, 2 K.

Courtesy of Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports
Courtesy of Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports /

Gonzalez’s spring ERA ballooned to 22.24 – which obviously isn’t good. Now in fairness, we don’t know what the gameplan was today, although as I said he stated after coming out that his mechanics were off. I did notice that he was throwing a heavy load of curve balls, as opposed to mixing his pitches as normal.

Pedro Alvarez made his spring debut with the Birds today, going 1-for-3. That one hit got the scoring started, as Alvarez smacked an RBI-double in his first at-bat. Jonathan Schoop would add an RBI-single later in the first inning, and Hyun-Soo Kim a sac fly-RBI. Things were off to a good start, however Minnesota wouldn’t be denied on this day. 

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  • Gonzalez got the first hitter out, but it was downhill from there. Minnesota would tack on two RBI-singles in the last of the first, and a sac fly-RBI off the bat of Mauer in the last of the second. That would tie the game at three, however Gonzalez would give up a three-run homer to Minnesota’s Plouffe later in the inning, which broke the game wide open.

    Christian Walker would smack a two-run homer in the fifth for the O’s, but they never got any closer than 6-4. Minnesota batted around a few times over the course of various innings, although the O’s would put one more across in the ninth – the result of an error. However there were some bright spots for the O’s – if you can believe that. Vance Worley turned in two perfect innings, striking out three. Dylan Bundy pitched one inning as well, giving up a run and allowing a walk.

    When you look at the line score itself, it’s pretty ugly. However other than Gonzalez, Dylan Bundy is the only guy who’s anticipated to be on the final roster to see action in this game. I suppose that Vance Worley probably has a halfway decent shot, and as I said he pitched very well today. In fact, he probably pitched better than any other Oriole pitcher to see action.

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    However the main concern will be Gonzalez coming out of this game, and rightfully so. I think that Gonzalez would have to pitch this poorly, if not more so, the rest of spring to be in danger of losing his spot in the starting rotation. That’s not a fact, just an opinion. But with that said, how much rope does he (or anyone for that matter) get once the regular season begins?

    I’ve mentioned this previously, however I’ll say it again. The Orioles will have a day off in week one of the season. That means that they don’t necessarily have to break camp with a five-man rotation. In fact unless he does a total about-face, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see Gonzalez start the season in the bullpen.

    That would probably make him the long man in the ‘pen for that first week, and potentially give him the opportunity to throw his bullpen side session in the form of pitching in a game. While that might not be ideally what Gonzalez would want, it would give him a chance to get his confidence up a bit in the ‘pen. But also keep in mind folks; there are a lot of games between now and then. Let’s give him a chance to right himself before we jump to any conclusions. This isn’t do or die.

    For what it’s worth, this Minnesota team swept the Orioles in all seven meetings last season. If you remember, whereas the Orioles aimed to hit every pitch out of the park, Minnesota countered that with small ball. And similar to what happened today, it seemed like every baserunner would come home to score. Bearing that in mind, very few regulars were in the Orioles’ lineup this afternoon – which is about par for the course.

    Next: Baltimore Orioles: Does Tyler Wilson have a shot?

    The Orioles will return to Sarasota this afternoon for a game against Philadelphia. Yovani Gallardo will get the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Philadelphia’s Alec Asher. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.