07/28/10 7:50 PM ET
O's rotation gets another go-around
By James Hall / MLB.com
"Right now, everybody is still going to make their next start," Samuel said. "We're going to try and go around one more time, and hopefully these guys figure it out. Looking at the options that we have right now -- there are no options.
"These guys are going to have to make some pitches and get us through the stretch that we're in."
Following Brad Bergesen's rocky outing Monday against the Blue Jays, who tagged the youngster for eight runs over just five innings, there was speculation that Bergesen -- 3-9 with a 6.95 ERA -- would not make his next scheduled start Saturday, and the club would instead call up Zach Britton from Triple-A Norfolk.
But with Britton pitching 5 1/3 frames Tuesday, Samuel said it is highly unlikely the club will make any last-second decisions to bring the left-hander to the Majors just yet. The 22-year old is 1-1 with a 2.28 ERA over five starts in Triple-A.
The O's staff has had a miserable 12 games since the All-Star break, averaging roughly five innings per start while surrendering 54 earned runs.
Struggling Pie gets mental break
TORONTO -- Felix Pie's recent struggles have prompted interim manager Juan Samuel to leave the outfielder out of the Orioles' starting lineup for Wednesday night's series finale against the Blue Jays.
"These guys are trying so hard," Samuel said. "They know what we've been through and they are trying so hard. We think Felix needs a break here, mentally. I think he's swinging a little bit too hard -- probably pressing a little bit."
Pie, who has started 12 consecutive games for the O's dating back to July 16, looked lost at the plate during the first two games in Toronto, going 0-for-7 with one walk and five strikeouts -- three of which came looking at the third strike.
Pie has also had his fair share of woes defensively, committing a costly throwing error in Tuesday's 8-2 loss that resulted in an unearned run.
Through 81 at-bats, Pie is hitting .259 with 21 runs scored. He is expected to be back in the lineup when the O's travel to Kansas City on Thursday.
Gonzalez shows improvement since return
TORONTO -- Entering this year, Mike Gonzalez was set to be the Orioles' closer.
Fresh off signing a two-year, $12 million deal in the offseason, the left-hander had lofty expectations.
But things don't always go according to plan. After a string of tough outings to begin the year, when Gonzalez blew two saves in three opportunities, he landed on the 15-day disabled list April 14, with a strained left shoulder, eventually being transferred to the 60-day DL.
It's been a long recovery for Gonzalez, who was activated July 21. And while he lost his role as the team's closer to Alfredo Simon, interim manager Juan Samuel has noticed significant improvements in Gonzalez since his return.
"For us, he's throwing more strikes," Samuel said. "We've seen his velocity up there [too]. That's basically been the key -- he's just throwing more strikes.
"His outings have been good and his confidence is up right now. We want to continue to see him [perform the way he has]."
Through his first three outings of the season, Gonzalez issued four walks over just two innings, working himself into deep pitch counts, including a 26-pitch inning for his first save of the season April 8.
Working with a cleaner, more fluid motion, Gonzalez has curbed the trend. He has walked two batters over 3 1/3 frames since his return, but most importantly, has worked ahead in the count.
In his last outing vs. the Blue Jays on Tuesday, Gonzalez pitched in the sixth and seventh innings, recording five straight outs, and not once falling behind in the count 3-1 or 3-0.
Catcher Matt Wieters was given a scheduled day off in the O's series finale against the Blue Jays on Wednesday. ... Second baseman Brian Roberts and first baseman Ty Wigginton were both in the starting lineup Wednesday, after not playing Tuesday. Wigginton was serving the second day of a two-game suspension, while Roberts -- activated from the 60-day disabled list Friday -- was given the day off to rest. Roberts is scheduled to start the next three games in Kansas City.
James Hall is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.