Baltimore Orioles: Miguel Gonzalez with a strong outing
Miguel Gonzalez stepped up and provided a strong outing for the Baltimore Orioles when he needed to do so the most.
If there’s such a thing as a “big game” in spring training last night’s Baltimore Orioles game against Atlanta was big for Miguel Gonzalez. There was a chance that he was pitching for his job last night, and when he needed a strong outing the most, he provded one. Gonzalez’s line: 5 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 4 K.
It’s tough to say whether or not this start saved Gonalez’s spot on the roster, or if it’s even in play for the time being. However needless to say, he admitted afterwards that there was a sense of urgency on his part (quote courtesy of Brittany Ghiroli, mlb.com):
"I know it’s toward the end and I wanted to get a good outing just to feel better mentally, and overall I did good."
The Orioles started giving Gonzalez some run support right off the bat,
when Manny Machado smacked a solo homer in the last of the first inning. Atlanta would knot the game at one on a sac fly-RBI in the third, however that was the only run that Gonzalez would give up. But the good news was that Matt Wieters would hit a solo homer of his own in the last of the third, allowing Gonzalez to depart after five with the lead.
Atlanta would plate three runs in the sixth to take a 4-2 lead. While that might not have sat well with most of the fans at Ed Smith Stadium, that of course occurred after Miguel Gonzalez had departed the game. Those runs were charged to Zach Phillips, however otherwise the Orioles’ pen was strong. And the good news for Orioles fans was that the Birds weren’t quite done.
Mark Trumbo would bring the O’s back to within one with an RBI-single in the last of the sixth, but we went to the 9th with the home team still trailing. However with a two-out RBI-single, Garabez Rosa tied the game at four – and we played on. The O’s played Atlanta the token one extra inning, and when nobody scored both managers waved at each other and called it a night. Mark it as another tie for the O’s.
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Obviously the real winner in this game was Miguel Gonzalez, who was about as effective as we’ve seen him in camp. Ironically, Buck Showalter seemed to indicate that Gonzalez has been better, although he did say that he felt that Gonzalez was good last night (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):
"Not as good as I’ve seen him, but he had better feel for all his secondary pitches. That’s what allowed him to get some results, and some really good defense behind him."
I suppose I look at that quote with some interest because it’s not exactly the most rousing of endorsements of Gonzalez. Showalter also said that he felt good or Gonzalez to finally get some results because those have been hard to come by for him this spring. He also seemed to go out of his way to praise the defense – almost as if that’s the reason Gonzalez only gave up one run.
It’s tough to tell sometimes what a manager like Showalter is trying to say, however I would subit that a lot of that is simply just trying to temper the result a bit. Unless I’m told otherwise, I’m going to assume that Gonzalez is going to at least start the season in the five-man rotation. Furthermore, I’m also going to assume that his outing last night might have saved his job. How long a leash he’ll have in the regular season might be another story.
The Orioles are also expected to send Hyun-Soo Kim to triple-A Norfolk at some point in the near future. Kim has had a tough spring, which in a way is understandable – given his adjustment to the big leagues and the United States. However there’s a clause in his contract which says he can’t be optioned unless he gives his approval – which he’s expected to do.
Next: Baltimore Orioles tab Chris Tillman to start on Opening Day
The Orioles will take on Detroit this evening at Ed Smith Stadium, in the final MASN telecast of the spring. Chris Tillman will get the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Detroit’s Shane Greene. Game time is set for just after 6 PM.