BALTIMORE — From a logistical standpoint, Baltimore starter Miguel Gonzalez hasn’t had a particularly stable season. He has dealt with one stint on the disabled list, pitched out of the bullpen once and twice was demoted to the minor leagues as part of the club’s continual roster tweaks.
If Gonzalez keeps pitching like he did Wednesday in a 6-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds, though, he ultimately will end up with just one destination next month: the postseason. That’s his ultimate goal after an elevator of a season.
“It’s got to be tough for a lot of guys [to be moved around]. A lot of guys can tell you that,” said Gonzalez, who was sent to the minors in July and August to get extra work while allowing the Orioles to add some depth. “You’ve just got to be mentally strong and, when they call you back up, be ready.”
The 30-year-old right-hander wasn’t just prepared Wednesday, he was utterly dominant. He pounded the strike zone with low-90s fastballs in what was the best outing of his career.
“Sure, we’ll call it the best,” the soft-spoken Gonzalez said with a smile.
He didn’t give up a hit until the fifth inning — a one-out single to left field by Cincinnati’s Ryan Ludwick — on his way to the first complete game and first shutout of his career. The only other complete game of his professional career was in 2007 in the Class AA Texas League.
“It’s an awesome feeling. Overall, we played a great game,” Gonzalez said. “Put some runs [up] early. That helps.”
Gonzalez threw a career-high 117 pitches, including an impressive 83 strikes, and he had a season-high eight strikeouts. He had 96 pitches going into the ninth, and Orioles Manager Buck Showalter and pitching coach Dave Wallace never considered using a reliever to start the inning.
“That was pretty easy,” Showalter said. “He was fine. Dave talks to him every inning. He’s one of our best conditioned guys. He’s got plenty of innings and pitches available. He’s in a spot where he’s got a lot of bullets left.”
— Baltimore Sun