Orioles Offseason Questions: What To Do With Miguel Gonzalez?Posted on October 07, 2013 by John Wilkes
There is no quicker path to mediocrity in Major League Baseball then to have average, or in the Orioles case below average, starting pitching. Currently the rotation is full of number four and five level starters masquerading as number two's and number three’s. That’s why starting pitching is the Orioles number one priority this offseason. The first fix might come from simple "addition by subtraction" in the form of Miguel Gonzalez.
Miguel Gonzalez came out of nowhere in 2012. The well-traveled pitcher was signed to a minor league deal by the Orioles after spending four years in the Boston Red Sox organization. After a few rough call-ups the right-hander found his stuff and amassed an impressive 9-4 record with the Orioles, including three dominant starts against the New York Yankees. He’s ability to pitch against New York, and in New York for that matter, earned him the nickname “The Yankee Killer”. Gonzalez looked like he could be a valuable asset to an Orioles rotation that was in dire need of consistency.
That was then. This is now. Miguel Gonzalez ended his 2013 campaign with an 11-8 record and a 3.78 ERA. The record nor the ERA is what is putting Miguel on the chopping block. Gonzalez struggles mightily after the fourth inning. It’s like Doctor Jeykell and Mr. Hyde. Here are his splits:
- His ERA rises four points from the fourth inning (2.57) to the fifth inning (6.66).
- In the fifth inning this year he walked more batters (13) than he struck out (10)
- He allowed 20 more runs in innings 4-6 (46) then in the than in innings 1-3 (26)
- Opponents are hitting .064 point higher in innings 4-6 (.271) then in innings 1-3 (.207)
- 46% of runs he allowed as starter come from when he’s facing a team the third time though only 28% of his total plate appearances faced come batters facing him for the third time in a game.
So in the end what does this all mean? One possibility is that Gonzalez is getting seriously fatigued as the games goes on. This is causing him to miss spots or tip his pitches. Another possibility is that hitters are caught off guard by Gonzalez at first but are quickly able to adjust. The issue is that once they adjust Gonzalez himself is not adjusting. Either way what it really means is that Gonzalez cannot be trusted to be a starter for the Baltimore Orioles. If he stays with this team I could see him becoming the teams long reliever with the chance to spot start on occasion.