Orioles' Miguel Gonzalez hopes to return to form this afternoon against Padres

August 07, 2013|By Eduardo A. Encina | The Baltimore Sun

SAN DIEGO — Orioles right-hander Miguel Gonzalez admits he hasn’t felt like himself lately, and his past two outings show that.

Gonzalez, who will start today’s afternoon series finale against the Padres in San Diego, is coming off the worst back-to-back outings of his major league career. Over his past two starts, he has allowed 15 runs (10 earned) in 8 1/3 innings.  Before those outings, he had thrown eight straight quality starts.

“I just have to be myself,” Gonzalez said. “I think that’s the most important thing. Just pitch the way I know how to pitch and not worry about anything else. The last two outings, I’ve just been thinking too much about other things than baseball. Just got to block everything else and just go back into that focus mode.”

In becoming one of the Orioles’ most consistent starters, Gonzalez’s best attribute was his resolve. He didn’t get rattled under the spotlight. He pitched well at Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park. He seemed to bring his best in the most important games. When the Orioles needed a win, Gonzalez put them in a situation to be victorious.

Gonzalez said he needs to get back to that.

“I was just trying to do too much,” Gonzalez said. “Instead of thinking, ‘Here’s a target, take it there.’ People yelling and everything, I block all that stuff out. That’s just me when I’m in the zone. Sometimes when you’re not in the zone, baseball can humble you from one day to another. You just have to come back and be stronger the next time you come out.”

He said he believes he can correct that this afternoon in San Diego. To him, his struggles are mostly mental. But he knows hitters have been sitting on a flattened fastball, especially when he’s not throwing his split-fingered fastball and other breaking pitches with the accuracy to which he’s grown accustomed.

“Mechanics is part of it,” he said. “You have to know when to balance yourself and when to go. You have to stay back sometimes more than others and that’s why when you’re flying open you’re ball is going to be flat and guys are going to hit it no matter what team it is.”
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