What a change: Offspeed pitch leads to new strikeout high for Orioles' Miguel Gonzalez

The Baltimore Sun

When Miguel Gonzalez suffered the worst outing of his brief major league career last Wednesday, he didn’t offer any excuses, only the explanation that he didn’t have a good feel for his pitches. He couldn’t get a good grip on the ball.

What he didn’t say was that he was sick. That’s why his clammy hands couldn’t grip the baseball, which made him struggle with his change-up and slider. He lasted just 2 2/3 innings and allowed seven runs on seven hits. In retrospect, he said he wished he thrown more two-seam fastballs.

Feeling much better physically and mentally Monday night making his first start at Yankee Stadium, Gonzalez showed how he could dominate one of the most dominating lineups in baseball when all of his pitches were working.

On Monday, it was the change-up. Gonzalez struck out six of his career-high eight batters with his change-up, often after establishing his four-seam fastball throughout the at bats before pulling the string on the change-up.

The 28-year-old rookie held the top five hitters in the Yankees batting order to one hit in 15 at-bats, and seven of his eight strikeouts came against those five hitters.

“Stay aggressive, throw strikes, get them off balance,” Gonzalez said of his plan against the Yankees on Monday. “That's what I did and it worked out."

Gonzalez allowed four runs on six hits over 6 2/3 innings Monday. He allowed three homers in the game, but all of them were solo, limiting the damage.

As for that change-up, Gonzalez said he’s learning to trust it more with each outing.

"I'm confident with it,” he said. “I can throw it anytime in the count. And it was successful tonight and we got the win. That's all that matters."

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