The Baltimore Orioles took the first two games in their three-game series with the Los Angeles Angels, and a victory on Wednesday afternoon could have given them a sweep and put them just two games behind the Boston Red Sox, who currently hold the top spot in the American League East.
O’s starter Jason Hammel was pulled in the seventh inning after allowing a single and a walk to the first two batters he faced in the inning. Manager Buck Showalter brought in reliever Pedro Strop from the bullpen, which didn’t work out well for Baltimore.
Strop promptly allowed an infield single to load the bases. He then allowed a triple to Erick Aybar, who then scored on a throwing error. A groundout and a walk later, Albert Pujols promptly took him yard. Needless to say, that was the end of his afternoon on the mound.
Strop had a rough start to the 2013 MLB season, as his ERA sat at 11.81 on April 20 and was eventually placed on the 15-day DL with an issue with his back. The atrocious outing on Wednesday afternoon follows a scoreless inning in his return from June 8, and it essentially cost the Orioles the game, considering they were up 4-2 when he entered and were down 8-4 when he left the game.
There’s no telling if his back injury is still causing him issues, if he’s regressing back to his early-season form, or if he just had a bad outing. However, Baltimore’s starting pitching has started to pick up as of late and has put them right back in contention in the division.
Because of that, the O’s need their bullpen to remain solid. If Strop can’t get it together over his next couple of appearances, he might have to be optioned to Triple-A or put back on the DL.