Results tagged ‘ Mike Gonzalez ’

Game 4: Orioles/Blue Jays w. Brob/Gonzo tidbits

Gonzo leftovers..

gonzo.jpg

Some quotes from Mike
Gonzalez
that didn’t make it in from last night’s outing

[on the fans booing
him twice]

“I understand it obviously. They brought me here for a
reason. That was to close games and get the job done. That’s twice I’ve done it
in a row and I understand their frustration,” Gonzalez said.

[on his health]

“I’m fine, I’m fine. Just throwing a lot of balls.”

“More than anything right
now, I’ve just got some built up energy. I want to go out there and get it done
and I want to do it at the best possible rate. I really need to sit back and
say ‘they got me for a reason.’

“The reason was I’ve been
doing this for the last six years. I’ve been successful. I just need to keep
that same mindset, instead of trying to overdo what I can. I’m good enough with
what I have.”

****

Judging from those last two
quotes Gonzalez sounds like a guy trying to overthrow and prove that he’s worth
the contract the Orioles gave him. If he’s healthy, and he says he is, Orioles
fans need to be patient. The team isn’t going to pay this guy $6 million this
year and pull him after a rough first week. Does Gonzalez need to get it done?
Absolutely. Will he? We’ll see. I’d imagine AndyMacPhail and the organization will give him every opportunity
to succeed before evaluating their other options.  

Going, going, Gonzo

Seems like we were just talking about the improved
confidence
of closer Mike Gonzalez doesn’t it? Oh wait, because we were. Just last
night. So what happened? Honestly, I’m not sure. And I don’t know if Gonzalez
is, either.

“I know what I’m about and I know what I can do,” said
Gonzalez (0-2), who gave up two runs in 2/3 of an inning, suffering his second
blown save and ballooning his ERA to 18.00 in three games.

 “I’m just off to a
bad start and I need to turn it around as fast as possible.”

For the second time in four games, the Orioles handed the
ball to Gonzalez looking to put the finishing touches on a victory. Instead,
they were left with the harrowing effects of a late-game loss, as Gonzalez suffered
his second save, and exiting after recording just two outs in the Baltimore’s
7-6 home-opening loss to Toronto in front of a recording-breaking crowd of
48,891 at Camden Yards.

With a one-run lead, Gonzalez  opened the ninth by walking Edwin Encarnacion
and a wild pitch, followed by Travis Snider’s s double, tied the game at 6.  Snider advanced to third on John McDonald’s
bunt and Jose Bautista’s sacrifice fly gave the Blue Jays the edge.  Gonzalez was yanked from the game in favor of
Cla Meredith, who struck out Alex Gonzalez . But the damage was already done.

“My stuff is good enough, I definitely feel that,” said
Gonzalez, who has denied any problems with his arm all spring. “My confidence
is not down whatsoever. It’s, I need to throw strikes, you’re walking a guy and
[the next batter] they know what’s coming when its 2-0.”

An afternoon full of hopeful cheers to welcome back baseball
took a momentary lapse as a smattering of boos greeted Gonzalez in the pregame
introductions. Those early jeers paled in comparison to the frustration that
spilled over when the crowd of 48,891 watched in dismay as Gonzalez unraveled
against the bottom of the Blue Jays batting order.

“We should have had three wins right now and that’s what’s
getting under my skin,” Gonzalez said.

“I go out there and get 10 straight, 11 straight  [saves] and you aren’t hearing the boos
anymore. So that’s not a problem for me. What’s a problem for me is the way the
guys are playing, the guys are playing great baseball. They can hang with
anybody in this league right now and I’ve obviously seen that in the last 4 games.”

“They’re getting it done, I just need to go and do my part.”

The question becomes, how much longer will he be allowed to
do that? This is purely speculation at this point since Trembley reiterated on
Friday night that Gonzalez is his closer. Still, the Orioles are 1-3 and could
easily be 3-1, if not 4-0.

“The bottom line is, you should win this game today and you don’t
do it,” Trembley said. “You got all the pieces right where they are supposed to
be.”

The Orioles signed Gonzalez to a two-year, $12 million deal
to help shore up last season’s woeful bullpen. Right now, he doesn’t look like
much of an upgrade.

Gonzo: glad he got first save "out of the way"

Mike Gonzalez got his first save on Thursday night, just two
nights removed from Tuesday’s disappointing outing, which resulted in a blown
save and a loss. The Orioles new closer talked about getting the first save following
the Orioles’ 5-4 win over the Rays…

“That was a big thing now, just get the first one out of the
way,” Gonzalez said. “Now I can actually go and do me now.  Obviously [the excitement] it’s not good for
the Baltimore fans, I’m sorry about that. But I’m glad I got that one out of
the way.

Just how over-amped  is he?

“After that first outing [Tuesday] I had I think it’s just
over everything,” Gonzalez said.  “A new division,
a new team, trying to show too much, trying to show them that you do belong…obviously,
this is huge for me now I can go out and just start doing me.”

Gonzalez said getting Thursday’s wasn’t just  a sign of relief.

“The plane trip back [to Baltimore] is so much nicer. When you
go out there and something happens, they comeback, that’s just devastating for
the ballclub. Now we’re pumped up. One thing is for sure, we are going to be in
a lot of these games.  This season’s
going to be a lot of excitement. A l ot of these guys can hit and these games
are going to be really good. So, I’m excited for that.”

Gonzalez also had high praise for rookie starter Brian Matusz, who gutted out five solid
innings to collect the win in his 2010 debut.

“First of all, I love Brian,” Gonzalez said. “His stuff is
ridiculous, he’s got great electric stuff, but his mindset for a 23-year-old,
you don’t see that especially in the big leagues. Those guys are down in Double-A,
Triple-A trying to make it. He’s over here, he’s a mental bulldog. And I definitely
like the way he goes about his business.”

Game 3: Orioles-Rays

A few tidbits for Game 3 as the Orioles try to avoid the sweep
with Brian Matusz on the hill

*Jim Johnson played
catch and said he’s good to go if needed out of the bullpen tonight. He had
some tightness in his right shoulder that came when he threw the first pitch to
Carlos Pena in the eighth inning on Tuesday night. Apparently, a lot of ice and
some anti-inflammatory medication did the trick.

*Manager Dave Trembley said he talked to Brian Roberts to make sure his back was OK before playing him for
the third straight game on the turf. Roberts will also play tomorrow’s opener
in Baltimore. Roberts said he’s not concerned by his hitless first two games, saying if it was mid-June it’d be more cause for concern. He told me he’s having good at-bats and while he didn’t feel the best at the plate on Tuesday, he was seeing the ball much better on Wednesday night.

*Julio Lugo makes his
Orioles debut tonight at shortstop.

*Felix Pie said he is available as a pinch runner tonight, but won’t try to test his left shoulder by throwing until tomorrow. Trembley wasn’t sure whether Pie would get the start in Friday’s home opener or not.

*No update on the status of Koji
Uehara
, but all signs point to him not being ready the first day he’s
eligible off the disabled list, which is April 11.

*I spent a few minutes talking to Mike Gonzalez who has been dying to get the ball back and redeem himself for  Tuesday’s blown save/loss. Let’s see if he gets the chance tonight.

*Rays pitcher James Shields welcomed a baby girl, his second daughter, yesterday. He was all smiles today. What an opening week for him.

 

ORIOLES LINEUP

Brian Roberts 2B
Adam Jones CF
Nick Markakis RF
Miguel Tejada 3B
Luke Scott LF
Matt Wieters C
Nolan Reimold DH
Garrett Atkins 1B
Julio Lugo SS

Brian Matusz LHP

RAYS LINEUP

Jason Bartlett SS
Carl Crawford LF
Ben Zobrist 2B
Evan Longoria 3B
Carlos Pena 1B
B.J Upton CF
Pat Burrell DH
Gape Kapler RF

Kelly Shoppach C

Jeff Niemann RHP

Game 2 Orioles-Rays

Nolan Reimold’s
in the lineup, because Felix Pie has a little rotator cuff strain suffered when he threw to home in Tuesday’s loss. Pie stayed in the game, but said he felt a sharp pain in his arm, which is why he jumped up in the air following the throw. I thought he was angry the throw bounced over catcher Matt Wieters’ shoulder. Guess not.

Pie doesn’t know how long he will be out but said he felt better already this morning compared to last night.

Meanwhile Reimold will get the start a day earlier than expected. He told me he’s not worried about running on the Rays turf, since he did it last season when his Achilles was bothering him.

*Also, in case you missed it, I talked to Robert Andino about clearing waivers
this afternoon.  President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said Andino will get the bulk of playing time at shortstop in Triple-A Norfolk.

*Mike Gonzalez was the first guy in Dave Trembley’s office this morning and told the Orioles manager he wants the ball tonight. We’ll see what happens. Close friend Rafael Soriano (who got the win for the Rays) texted Gonzalez words of encouragement following an ugly blown save.

*Brad Bergesen and David Hernandez Friday and Saturday’s starters in Baltimore, boarded a 6 p.m. flight earlier tonight to go back to Birdland. They’ll get a chance to settle in and prep for their starts. Hernandez threw a bullpen yesterday and told me he’s pretty excited. 

*New Oriole Julio Lugo was coloring in the white parts of his cleats with an orange permanent marker pregame. He’s still waiting to get his Orioles spikes, but this way he fits in.

Check back here and on Twitter for any and all pregame notes as the O’s try to put last night’s painful loss behind them…

ORIOLES LINEUP

Brian Roberts, 2B
Adam Jones, CF
Nick Markakis, RF
Miguel Tejada, 3B
Luke Scott, DH
Matt Wieters, C
Nolan Reimold, LF
Garrett Atkins, 1B
Cesar Izturis, SS
Jeremy Guthrie, SP

RAYS LINEUP

Jason Bartlett, SS
Carl Crawford, LF
Ben Zobrist, RF
Evan Longoria, 3B
Carlos Pena, 1B
BJ Upton CF
Pat Burrell DH
Kelly Shoppach C
Reid Brignac 2B
Matt Garza, SP

Gonzo faces the music

It’s always
interesting for the media to see if a new pitcher will “own up” when he blows
it. In the case of Mike Gonzalez, he
was ready and willing to face the music as soon as the reporters walked in. He
made zero excuses, didn’t use clichés and was noticeably upset about his
performance, which includes a loss and a blown save in the Orioles 4-3 loss to
the Rays.

Most of my game story
on Orioles.com centers on Gonzo, but here’s the rundown of what he said.

“Seriously, I’m disgusted by the whole thing,” Gonzalez
said when asked if Tuesday’s loss was tough to swallow given the performance of
the other arms.

 

“You see [Kevin]
Millwood
go out there and pitch a gem. The bullpen did awesome, they did
great, they did what they had to do, they grinded. Our offense did what they
were doing all last year. They’re going to get their runs, and I’ve got to come
in and shut the door.”

 

“I’ve got no excuses about that. I didn’t get it done
and it’s one of those things where, as soon as I leave this locker room, I’m
forgetting about it. Tomorrow’s another day and I’ve got to come in and get it
done then.”

 

Gonzalez’s radar readings were the best they’ve been this
spring, with a fastball that topped out at 93 mph. Unfortunately, his location
left much to be desired as the Rays jumped on the lefty for a one-out single
and a pair of doubles, sandwiched in between an intentional walk to Jason
Bartlett.  Carl Crawford had the winning
hit.

 

 “I felt surprisingly really good,” said Gonzalez who admitted
he was amped when he took the hill for the first time in an Orioles uniform.  

 

“I’ve just got to tone it down a little bit. That means
getting the ball down a little more. Those pitches up, they took advantage of
them. They executed the pitches and that’s how it went.”

 

And because I know
this one outing will spark questions about whether Gonzalez should be the
Orioles closer, here’s what manager Dave Trembley had to say:

 “We
got ourselves to the ninth inning and Gonzalez is our guy and we just didn’t
get the three outs.”

 Wasn’t this game
scripted exactly the way Trembley wanted?

“That’s the way it
is, that’s how it will be,” he said. “There is no one else that’s going to
close it. That’s Gonzalez. [Will] Ohman is going to come in and matchup left
against left. He did a tremendous job. Johnson is your eighth inning guy. More
times than not, it’s going to work in your favor. It didn’t tonight.”

The bottom line is
the Orioles are paying Gonzalez $12 million over the next two seasons. So he will
get every opportunity to prove he can hold down the ninth.

A totally unrelated fact: Rays pitcher Rafael
Soriano, the other half of the Braves closing team last season, got the win in
Tuesday’s game. Gonzalez obviously got the loss, but the two are closer than
just formerly sharing a clubhouse. Gonzalez said he’s a godfather to one of
Soriano’s kids.

Millwood/Gonzo update

The media just caught up with Kevin Millwood as he was
walking in from his Triple-A start. He said he threw 102 pitches over eight
scoreless innings and overall was pleased with his performance.

“I would take that stuff any day on a big league field,”
said Millwood, who worked in all of his pitches, including the change-up he’s
been focused on improving this spring.

The Orioles likely Opening Day starter, Millwood said he
will scale back in his next — and final — spring tune-up, estimating that he would
only throw 50 or 60 pitches.

Closer Mike Gonzalez started the Double-A game on the field next
to Millwood and reportedly threw around 25 pitches, although I didn’t get a chance
to confirm that or see him throw.

Millwood, Gonzo to thow in Minors games

Likely Opening Day starter Kevin Millwood will take his scheduled turn in the rotation
Saturday morning on the back fields of Ed Smith Stadium. The veteran
right-hander will look to get his pitch count over 100 in the Orioles Triple-A game against the Tampa Bay Rays prospects. Closer Mike Gonzalez will also pitch in the Double-A game and he said the goal is
to throw two innings.

The thought with both of those guys not pitching in the
Major League game is that the Orioles want to avoid the Boston Red Sox seeing
Millwood and Gonzalez until the regular season. 
It’s clearly not a sentiment shared by their divisional foes, since John
Lackey is slated to start Saturday’s Grapefruit League game.

And for my shameless
Spartan plug of the day
, Millwood has Michigan State in the team’s spread
poll. I guess that makes up (somewhat) for him being a Duke fan.

The closer's getting closer

Mike Gonzalez tossed a scoreless seventh inning on
Sunday afternoon, which marked his first official game outing since throwing an
inning against the Twins on March 8.  He
pitched around a two-out double and looked better than he has all spring.

“I think Gonzalez answered the bell as well,” manager Dave Trembley
said after the topic had switched from starter Kevin Millwood. “

His arm speed was improved.  Velocity was there,
sharpness. It seemed like he had some energy. Seemed like he was locked in to
pitch in a big league game.”

The Orioles new closer, Gonzalez left a “B”-squad game on the 13th
with lower back tightness and only pitched to two batters.  After several days of just treatment and light
catch, he threw eight pitches in a Minor League game between the Orioles and the
Red Sox on Friday afternoon.

Gonzalez was pleased with Sunday’s
outing and said his back is getting better each time out. He estimated that it
was at about 80 percent on Friday and 95 percent on Sunday, with his back only
locking up twice -both times in the bullpen during his warm up session.

Once I got into the game, I
didn’t feel a thing, so it’s definitely feeling much better,” said Gonzalez.

The hope is he will be 100 percent by his next outing, which
right now is scheduled for Wednesday in Jupiter.

Trembley said he talked to Gonzalez a few days ago and was
assured that Gonzalez would be ready come Opening Day.

“[I said] what you need to do is start getting in some games
for me,” Trembley said of his conversation with Gonzalez.  “You need to make a couple trips. And I’ll
trust that what you’re telling me is, in fact, going to occur.  And he said, ‘Dave I’ll give you everything I
got [Opening Day] April 6. And I said, ‘Mike, no problem. And here we go.”

Sunday’s outing marked Gonzalez’s second scoreless outing this spring, lowering his ERA to 3.00. In three official innings, Gonzalez has allowed a run on five hits with two walks and three strikeouts.

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