Showalter tabs Gonzalez over Norris for Game 3

Showalter tabs Gonzalez over Norris for Game 3

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles are planning on Miguel Gonzalez starting Game 3 of the American League Division Series in Detroit on Sunday and right-hander Bud Norris, if necessary, for Game 4.

"He won't be in the bullpen today unless it's an emergency," manager Buck Showalter said of Gonzalez, who was available for relief in Thursday's game.

"[Gonzalez] is down in the pecking order of options out of the 'pen as opposed to Bud. It makes Bud available yesterday and today and really Sunday [for Game 3] for Monday. Everybody was spiked up last night. [Gonzalez] won't be spiked up until needed."

  Date   Matchup/Result Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 2   BAL 12, DET 3 video
Gm 2 Oct. 3   BAL 7, DET 6 video
Gm 3 Oct. 5   BAL 2, DET 1 video

Norris will remain in the bullpen on Saturday afternoon, with Game 4 tentatively planned for Monday. The Orioles, coming off a 12-3 win in Game 1, could avoid having to play that game if they sweep the Tigers.

So, why Gonzalez on Sunday afternoon? Showalter said "there are a lot of variables," and game time is one. Norris is 3-4 with a 5.57 ERA in eight day game starts this season, versus a 12-4 mark with a 2.99 ERA in 20 night games. Over his career, he's 11-21 with a 4.72 ERA in daytime games and 42-36 with a 4.07 ERA in night games.

Gonzalez's career splits are even, with the right-hander a career 3.45 ERA in 49 night games (46 starts) as well as 26 day games (23 starts). The start time for a Game 4 has not been released, but the club is obviously hoping if the series gets there it will be a later game.

Gonzalez is 0-2 with an 8.47 ERA in four games (three starts) in his career against the Tigers. His only start at Comerica Park was on April 4, in which the extreme weather conditions and the team's travel schedule made for arguably their flattest game of the year. Gonzalez lasted just 3 1/3 innings that game, giving up seven earned runs.

That outing was an anomaly for Gonzalez, who went 10-9 with a 3.23 ERA in 27 games (26 starts) and pitched to a 2.19 ERA in 11 second-half starts. It will be his second postseason start, and his first since the 2012 ALDS against the Yankees.

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