Saturday, April 10, 2010

O's already at crossroads

YANKED: Mike Gonzalez blew his second save in 3 appearances, earning the loss in the O's home opener against the Toronto Blue Jays.

If case you've missed the first 4 games of the 2010 season, you haven't missed much. The Orioles are 1-3. But it's how they've lost 2 of those games that makes things interesting.

Mike Gonzalez, the $12 million dollar closer Andy MacPhail signed over the offseason to a 2-year deal, has blown 2 saves in 3 chances. Even the 1 save he did convert was a high-wire act. He allowed a hit and 2 walks before getting the final out.

And yesterday, at the O's home opener, Gonzalez blew another save opportunity, after the Orioles battled back from a 2 deficits to have the lead in the top of the 9th. Gonzalez bounced pitches in front of home plate or grooved fastballs down the middle of the plate. The Blue Jay hitters didn't even have to try to take back the lead. Gonzalez did it for them.

I know it's just 4 games into the season but the O's are at a crossroads. What should they do with Mike Gonzalez?

The Orioles talked a lot about how the 2010 season is going to be judged on wins and losses. So when they have a player who is costing the team games -- and looking mechanically out of whack while doing it -- you have to think that they will make the appropriate changes. Gonzalez looks like he's having a breakdown out on the mound. He is not doing anything to help the O's win games right now.

So Dave Trembley needs to get him out of the closer role for the time being. Give Jason Johnson a chance to save games for a while, or Koji Uehara when he comes off the DL. Allow Gonzalez to work in non-save situations (the lower the leverage, the better) to fix his problems. Please don't let him pitch in any 9th inning situations any more, Trembley -- unless you want to be fired.

Yeah, MacPhail signed him, but Trembley says who plays and when. And right now, Gonzalez doesn't deserve to be the closer any more. Even after only 4 games.

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