Mike Gonzalez isn’t doing much to endear himself to Baltimore right now. After blowing a save on Opening Night against the Rays, he proceeded to cough up the lead in Friday’s home opener against the Blue Jays, as well.
Handed a one-run lead in the ninth, Gonzalez didn’t waste any time, walking Edwin Encarnacion, throwing a wild pitch, then surrendering a game-tying double to Travis Snider. John McDonald then pushed Snider to third base with a bunt, setting up Jose Bautista to deliver a sacrifice fly for the game’s decisive run.
The new Baltimore stopper has allowed four runs on five hits over his first two innings of work this season while walking four and striking out three. Regardless, he tells Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com that he’s confident he can shake the early struggles.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that i can get the
job done. I need to turn this around and i need to do it quick.”
Gonzalez has said all the right things thus far and there’s no reason to believe he’s not healthy, but remember that he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2007 and is coming off a season in which he made a career-high 80 appearances. Even tossing the inherent health risk aside, it’s one of the offseason’s biggest head-scratchers why the Orioles decided to give a two-year, $12 million commitment to a closer when they aren’t
even expected to legitimately contend this season.
Angels DH Albert Pujols passed Mark McGwire for sole possession of 10th place on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard, slugging his 584th career home run in the first inning of Wednesday night’s game against the Blue Jays.
Mike Trout had already slugged a solo home run off of Jays starter Marco Estrada to bring Pujols to the dish. Pujols jumped on an 0-1 cut fastball, sending it out to left-center field, clearing the fence by a few feet.
Pujols, who finished 4-for-4 with the homer and an RBI double, is batting .257/.321/.441 with 24 home runs and 99 RBI on the year. His next target on the home run leaderboard is Frank Robinson at 586.
Orioles closer Zach Britton had appeared in a major league record 43 consecutive games without allowing an earned run, spanning May 5 to August 22. That streak came to an end on Wednesday evening against the Nationals.
The Orioles entered the bottom of the ninth inning holding a 10-3 lead, but reliever Parker Bridwell immediately found himself in hot water. He yielded back-to-back singles to Danny Espinosa and Clint Robinson. He was able to strike out Trea Turner, but walked Jayson Werth to load the bases. Daniel Murphy then crushed his first career grand slam to make it a 10-7 game. That prompted manager Buck Showalter to bring in Britton.
Britton, too, was knocked around. He served up a single to Bryce Harper, followed by a double to Anthony Rendon that scored Harper, pushing the score to 10-8 and ending Britton’s streak. Wilson Ramos reached on a fielder’s choice back to Britton, but the lefty finally finished the game by getting Ryan Zimmerman to ground into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Britton now holds a nice 0.69 ERA with 38 saves and a 61/16 K/BB ratio in 52 innings of work this season.