In a game that featured a pitching matchup that could have occurred in the double-A Eastern League only a week ago, the Baltimore Orioles fell 9-3 in the second game of the DC series. Kevin Gausman made his second start at the major league level, and was seemingly taught a lesson by Washington hitters. Gausman’s line: 4 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 1 BB, 0 K. Many people are going to look at the zero strikeouts and feel some concern, and obviously strikeouts are a good thing. However one good thing about Gausman is that he works quickly. He doesn’t seem to get himself deep into counts, which means he doesn’t throw as many pitches. The four innings pitched and seven runs are more of a concern, however Buck Showalter said after the game that Gausman would get at least one more start in the bigs (Sunday against Detroit).
The Orioles were also facing a pitcher that was making his big league debut in Nathan Karns, who save for one inning shut them down. The O’s found themselves in an early hole when Adam LaRoche sent a three-run homer over the wall in the first inning after a nearly hour-and-a-half rain delay to start the game. It’s important to note that the Orioles started chipping away in the top of the second. That was a good sign because it said that the O’s weren’t going to go quietly, even though the final score doesn’t indicate that. Chris Davis scored from first on Matt Wieters‘ RBI-double, which cut Washington’s lead to 3-1. The O’s roughed Karns up in the fourth when Davis and J.J. Hardy each sent solo homers over the fence, and suddenly the O’s were in business with a tie game.
However Washington popped right back in the last of the inning, with Tyler Moore‘s two-run homer, followed immediately by Roger Bernadina‘s solo shot and an add-on RBI-double by Kurt Suzuki. Washington would end up posting two more on the board in the eighth inning to defeat the Orioles 9-3. As Buck Showalter often says, sometimes you just have to tip your cap to the other side. Many of Gausman’s pitches were catching too much of the plate, which is something that will need to be addressed by Buck Showalter and Rick Adair. There seemed to be very little life on his fastball in the sense that there wasn’t much late movement, and Washington hitters took advantage of that. T.J. McFarland and Troy Patton each gave the Orioles two innings, which helped to keep the bullpen fresh going into the series in Baltimore. (In fact for what it’s worth, Washington used more relievers last night and in the entire series than the Orioles did.)
The O’s open up another two-game series with these same Washington Nationals at Camden Yards tonight. The Orioles will send Chris Tillman to the mound tonight, who of course has been possibly the most effective starter to this point in the season. He’ll be opposed by Jordan Zimmerman of Washington, who’s had hard-luck losses in each of the last two years at Camden Yards. As I said yesterday I view these as two separate two-game sets, but if people want to use terms like “the series shifts to Baltimore” (indicating that it’s the same series), that’s fine with me. Washington’s manager Davey Johnson has said that Bryce Harper might be available to use as a DH with the teams being able to revert to American League rules, however we won’t know that for sure until the lineups come out later this afternoon.