Gonzalez says Thursday's rough outing was different, encouraging
One of the more interesting developments from Thursday’s game revolves around beleaguered reliever Michael Gonzalez.
The lefty had another rough outing on Thursday in the Orioles’ 6-2 loss to the Boston Red Sox.
Three of the four batters he faced reached base. He gave up two singles, walked a guy and struck out one. He was charged with two runs and also allowed an inherited runner to score. Yet after the game, Gonzalez said he wasn’t frustrated.
Because he felt like he had it together, mentally and physically, for the first time this season.
“I felt really good today. I felt really comfortable and it just didn’t go my way,” he said. “But I will fight like this all day. I’ll go everyday to work like that feeling the way I felt today. No frustration whatsoever.”
Before you go, “whatttttt?” I guess you should know this: Gonzalez hit 94 and 95 mph multiple times with his four-seam fastball, up from the low 90s in previous outings, and that was noticed by manager Buck Showalter.
“I thought Gonzo probably had the best stuff he’s had this year, as far as just quality stuff,” Showalter said. “Because he’s having some struggles here and there, it’s tough to get him out there enough to get it under control like we know he’s capable of. It’s good to see his stuff get better tonight. If he keeps bringing that type of stuff, he’ll have some success.”
On the pitching side, Gonzalez has been the club’s biggest disappointment. He finished 2010 strong – after a rough and injury-riddled beginning – but couldn’t carry that over to this year. He said earlier this week that his confidence wasn’t shattered. And then said Thursday night that he was excited about how he felt on the mound, even as Showalter took him out and he walked off to what has become a familiar sound of boos from some in the home crowd.
“I was trying to just stay in the moment because I felt so good. I hadn’t felt like that all year. And like I said it had nothing to do with results. To me, it had nothing to do with velocity. To me, it was the way I felt, my rhythm, my motion, everything felt back to where it was before,” Gonzalez said. “Seriously, I didn’t even feel much of that last year when I came back. I am excited about that, I can’t lie. I’m excited about that. Obviously, you don’t want to give up a couple runs. That’s how it is, but to sacrifice a couple runs for the way I felt today, I will do that every day.”
Gonzalez’s ERA is now a robust 13.50. He has allowed runs in six of his seven appearances and doled out nine hits and four walks in 5 1/3 innings. The problem for the Orioles is they have no left-handers to fill his place. The other lefty reliever, Clay Rapada, has a 21.60 ERA (four runs in 1 2/3 innings).
And don’t forget Gonzalez is making $6 million this year. The Orioles are on the hook for that if they cut him. But if he can work out his troubles – and we’re talking quickly here – it’s possible they can get some team to take the rest of that contract and maybe throw in a spare part in July. The best case scenario, of course, is that he turns it around and pitches well for the Orioles, justifying that lofty deal. It's hard to see, after Thursday's outing, that such a possibility is on the horizon.
Believe him or not, though, Gonzalez said he thinks that turnaround is coming.
“I feel bad about giving up that run of (Jim Johnson’s). I didn’t want to give up (Johnson’s) run. That’s what I feel bad about. The results, seriously, I don’t feel bad or frustrated whatsoever. What I wanted was to go out there and have my mindset.”
One last Gonzo quote. He was asked about looking angry on the mound Thursday, and this is what he said: “That’s me. That’s what I felt good about. It really wasn’t mad, it was aggressive. I am aggressive. I go right after you. I don’t know where I lost that. I am just glad I found that. Like I said, results are results. But I feel good about it.”