Wild eighth inning Wednesday magnifies Orioles reliever Miguel Castro's month-long struggles

Reliever Miguel Castro suffered through his worst outing of the season in the eighth inning of the Orioles’ 6-0 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays, a five-batter stretch in which Castro allowed a three-run homer, an RBI double, two walks and made three wild pitches without recording an out.

Castro has been struggling with his command this season — his 14.9 percent walk rate is the second-highest among AL relievers who have thrown at least 40 innings — but on Wednesday, his struggles to command both his sinker and slider reached a new low.

“Unfortunately, it wasn’t a good day for me,” Castro said through interpreter Ramón Alarcón. “I was not able to command my pitches. They were not working for me today so unfortunately I was not able to help my team.”

The 23-year-old has struggled through the month of August. After Wednesday’s outing, he has allowed 12 earned runs over eight innings and has walked eight over that span while allowing four home runs.

“There are some things I feel like is going on with him that you can’t do much about,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “I mean, sometimes you feel great physically, but sometimes your knife gets a little dull.”

Castro is tied for fifth among major league relievers in innings with 67, and among total batters faced, he ranks fourth. He said he felt healthy after Wednesday’s game, and dismissed the notion that he’s overthrowing, saying that his problem is mechanical.

“I would say my mechanics is what I am trying to work and improve and get better at so I that I can be more consistent with my release point,” Castro said. “Unfortunately, it wasn’t a good day for me. But I think I’m not really like overthrowing, it’s just the mechanics.”

The eighth inning snowballed on him quickly Wednesday. After Teoscar Hernández reached on an infield single into the hole at short, a wild pitch allowed him to move to second base. Castro walked Danny Jansen of seven pitches after going ahead 1-2, just missing on sliders down and away on his last two pitches. Another wild pitch moved the runners up a base, and Richard Ureña’s double on a changeup scored Hernández.

Billy McKinney walked on four pitches, including a sinker that sailed away from catcher Austin Wynns for a third wild pitch.

After missing down and away with his sinker to Devon Travis, Travis fouled off the next pitch before taking an elevated sinker over the center-field fence.

“I try to keep in mind, I think everybody should, this is the youngest pitcher on our team,” Castro said. “And he’s done some really good things and he’s got some promise. You know, two steps forward and one step back today was a tough one for him. If the first ground ball doesn’t find a hole and someone catches it and throws him out, his confidence level [goes up] and here we go.”

eencina@baltsun.com

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