BALTIMORE -- Orioles reliever Pedro Strop allowed two home runs in one game for the first time in his career in Tuesday's 5-4 win over the Rays, and the right-hander said Wednesday he believed the rough outing was different from his struggles in the second half of 2012.
"Last year when I was struggling, I wasn't commanding my fastball; I was walking a lot more people, and it's totally different now," said Strop, who has issued one walk over five innings, allowing six earned runs and six hits in six appearances. "If you look at the outing in Tampa [during the Opening Week series] when all that crazy stuff happened, you take that out, I've had just one bad outing: last night. And that was two bad pitches. I'm not happy with the results, but I'm not crazy [angry] because I know I'm mostly making good pitches."
Strop recorded two outs to end the seventh inning Tuesday and was replaced after homers by Kelly Johnson and Evan Longoria, which resulted in three runs in the eighth. Manager Buck Showalter, who reminded reporters how good Strop was for much of last season, said he would continue to use Strop and Darren O'Day as "either or" scenarios in bridging to closer Jim Johnson.
"If we didn't like him, there'd be a lot of people standing in line," Showalter said of Strop, a converted infielder who pitched to a 2.44 ERA in 2012, setting career highs in wins, appearances, innings pitched, saves and strikeouts in his first full season as an Oriole. "I think he's going to do a lot of good things for us this year. He's gotten some big outs already. Last night wasn't one of them.
"I said something last night after the game [to him], but just in passing. I'm not mad at him. It's hard to do what they are doing. You know how many times [the Rays have] seen Pete? There's no secrets. He just second-guessed himself a little bit with pitch selection last night, where he located the ball. Which was actually, if you look back on it, is good for him. There was a while last year where he was kind of just throwing his hat out there. And it fell off his head a few times. I get more letters about his hat."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less