Gonzalez's lack of command yields key homer

Gonzalez's lack of command yields key homer

KANSAS CITY -- The frustrating season for Miguel Gonzalez continued on Tuesday night.

The right-hander turned in an all-too-familiar short start, lasting just 4 1/3 innings and giving up an early tone-setting homer in the Orioles' 3-2 loss to the Royals, which saw his season ERA climb to 4.78 in the process.

"Everything is fine [physically]. It's been rough ever since I came back from the disabled list, but sometimes the game's not fair, and it's a game of failure," said Gonzalez, who hasn't completed more than 5 1/3 innings in nine of 12 starts since he returned from a right groin strain.

K. Morales' solo shot

"You've just got to stay focused and not think too much when you're out there. I think that's been the main point for me this year, in the second half."

Gonzalez has gone 2-4 with a 5.95 ERA in eight second-half starts, walking 34 and striking out 14. The command has been a lingering issue for the righty, who issued three walks to Kansas City on Tuesday.

"He's gotten through some periods before where he's gotten back into sync, but his command is the thing," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "He's not a guy that's going to overpower you, but he's a guy when he's got command, he can make it look, as you've seen, and we've seen, but his command of the fastball. ... There were four or five of them. With [Kendrys] Morales, he was trying to go in, and he threw it down the middle. Good hitters are going to make you pay for those. Command of the fastball is where it starts with every pitcher."

Gonzalez, who figures to at least get another start as the O's don't have a lot of other options, agreed he has to cut down on walks, but didn't really elaborate on what's causing those issues.

"I've just been a little off," he said. "I need to keep working on that with [pitching coach] Dave [Wallace] and Dom [Chiti]. They've been doing a really good job keeping me to stay focused and not worry about things, and not think too much out there. I think that's been the struggle. Obviously, it hasn't been the way we want to, but we've just got to keep working hard."

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.