Lopez gave up seven earned runs and seven hits in four innings of Monday’s 13-1 loss to the New York Yankees. The second-year right-hander gave up five runs on his first five pitches after a 49-minute rain delay in the fourth inning.
However, manager Mike Hargrove didn’t think that the delay was any excuse for the shaky performance.
“He was loose, he had plenty of time to get ready,” he said. “He just came back out and made some bad pitches right off the bat and that hurt him.”
Lopez claimed that the mound was too soft and gave way when he landed after a pitch.
“I don’t want to give any excuses,” Lopez said. “I threw some bad pitches. I didn’t make good pitches because I didn’t have the support when I landed. When I fixed the problem, I settled down, but it was too late.”
Since a complete-game 9-0 win over the Oakland Athletics on Sept. 3, he has given up six homers in two starts. On Sept. 8, he gave up eight earned runs and 13 hits in 5 2-3 innings, but escaped without a decision in the Orioles’ 13-10 win over the Boston Red Sox.
After Monday’s start, Lopez, who had his ankle taped before the third inning because of a sprain he suffered in the first, endured a lecture from pitching coach Mark Wiley and catcher Brook Fordyce in the middle of the clubhouse.
“It wasn’t that long of a rain delay,” Fordyce said. “It’s just that this year Rodrigo has been inconsistent with his location. He got some pitches up over the plate that got hit. We know he’s better than that.”
Lopez could have trouble getting back to form against the Blue Jays. In six career appearances against Toronto, he is 0-4 with a 9.11 ERA—his worst mark against any AL team.
The Orioles beat the Blue Jays 2-1 Saturday, snapping Toronto’s four-game winning streak.
STANDINGS: Blue Jays - 3rd place, 16 GB, AL East. Orioles - 4th place, 26 1/2 GB, AL East.
BLUE JAYS PROBABLE STARTER: Mark Hendrickson (9-9, 5.46 ERA). The left-hander gave up three runs, two earned, and six hits in six innings of a 6-5 win over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Sept. 10—his third victory in four decisions. Hendrickson is 2-1 with a 4.23 ERA in six career appearances, including five starts, against the Orioles.
ORIOLES PROBABLE STARTER: Lopez (7-10, 5.98 ERA). Lopez is 6-4 with a 5.44 ERA in 15 starts at home this season.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Blue Jays - Vernon Wells, .320 avg. and 114 runs; Carlos Delgado, 35 HRs and 130 RBIs; Eric Hinske, 11 SBs. Orioles - Gibbons, .277 avg., 98 RBIs and 76 runs; Tony Batista, 25 HRs; Brian Roberts, 22 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Blue Jays, 10-8.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Blue Jays - OF Johnson extended his Toronto rookie-record hitting streak to 17 games Saturday. … SS Woodward’s double broke an 0-for-18 slump, the longest of his career. … 3B Hinske, who was slowed by a hand injury earlier this season, is batting .297 in September—his best month of the season, besides March, when he went 2-for-4 in one game. Orioles - Nine of OF Matos’ 11 homers have been solo shots. … The Orioles have won just one of their last 15 series against the Blue Jays. … The Orioles named 2B Mike Fontenot their minor league player of the year and RHP John Maine their minor league pitcher of the year on Saturday.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Blue Jays - 44-36 on the road; Orioles - 40-39 at home.
INJURIES: Blue Jays - LHP Doug Creek (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Bob File (shoulder), 60-day DL. Orioles - INF David Segui (wrist), 60-day DL; OF Albert Belle (hip), 60-day DL; OF Marty Cordova (elbow), 60-day DL; LHP Erik Bedard (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Scott Erickson (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Willis Roberts (elbow), 60-day DL.