Miguel Gonzalez was so good down the stretch last season – remember he was 6-1 with a 2.49 ERA in 10 starts after Aug. 1 in 2012.
Things hadn’t been so good for him since he last won on July 20. In those six starts, he was 0-4 with a 6.97 ERA.
That’s why Thursday night’s performance in a 3-1 win was so big for Gonzalez. He allowed just one run in seven innings. He struck out six. He cruised through a spotty, but potentially dangerous Chicago White Sox lineup.
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Most important, he looked like the Gonzalez we remember from last September.
“It was a long time since I got a win,” he said. “Being able to get that ninth win, just get my confidence back and go out there and just be myself.”
The performance, what it meant to the Orioles and Gonzalez wasn’t lost on manager Buck Showalter.
“It was kind of like he was on a mission tonight. A little driven,” Showalter said. “I think it was a reminder to us of how good Miggy's pitched for us the last two years, and there's some good things left in there.”
There’s not much time left in the season – 23 games. And the Orioles have an uphill climb. They really need to win three – if not all four – from the White Sox.
“They're all significant from here on out just because of the opportunities that are not there. If we take care of business, it will be an interesting last week of the season. It's as simple as that,” Showalter said. “I’ve said a bunch of times how this part of the year will inch along and you've really got to fight the urge to think the sky's falling or the sky's opening. It's an everyday, grind your at-bat, grind your outing. And you'll usually like the outcome if you just try to stay in the moment. It's difficult to do. It takes a lot of discipline.”