Miguel Gonzalez: Baltimore Orioles Rookie Hurler Becoming Road Warrior

James MorisetteCorrespondent IIIAugust 6, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 30:  Miguel Gonzalez #50 of the Baltimore Orioles pitches against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on July 30, 2012  in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

On Saturday, I wrote a feature on MLB’s 10 biggest road warriors. Although it's still early in his big league career, Baltimore Orioles rookie hurler Miguel Gonzalez was part of this exclusive club.

Going into Sunday’s action against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field, Gonzalez pitched like an all-star on the road. Yet, when it comes to pitching at Camden Yards, this Mexico native has struggled mightily.

Gonzalez lived up to his road warrior billing on Sunday, outdueling David Price in the Orioles' 1-0 victory over the Rays. Gonzalez tossed seven shutout innings, giving up just two hits and two walks in a no decision.

This performance came on the heels of Gonzalez’ poor outing at Camden Yards on July 25 versus this same Rays team. That day, Gonzalez pitched just 2.2 innings, squandering seven runs on seven hits. Gonzalez also gave up two homers, walked two and struck out two.

With that said, here is Gonzalez’ home-road split after Sunday's gem against Joe Maddon and company. The numbers are quite staggering.

AWAY 3 0 2.34 34.2 9 6 10 30 .194 0.98
HOME 0 2 7.82 12.2 11 3 10 10 .333 2.13

Orioles manager Buck Showalter has to know Gonzalez has been this kind of Jekyll-and-Hyde pitcher, at least in the early part of his career. Gonzalez surely knows as well, for this poor guy is the one out there taking the shellacking.

Talk about an elephant in the room.

What does Showalter say to Gonzalez before he takes his next turn on the hill at Camden Yards?  

Showalter: "Hey kid, need you to keep the ball down in this park."

Gonzalez: Gulp. "Yes sir, will do my best."

I am sure readers could think of a million other things to say (or not say), which is perhaps why being a big league manager is such a challenge in the first place.

Granted, at the end of the day, Orioles fans should not be too hard on Gonzalez—especially when one considers he has had only two starts at 333 West Camden Street.

If Gonzalez can balance the stat sheet between home and away, Baltimore may very well have a pitcher that will excel in orange and black for years to come on its ball club.


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What O’s Can Do in ’12 That May Lead to Success in ‘13
Why Buck Showalter Deserves AL Manager of the Year
O's Bronze Legends Incomplete Without Boog Powell