The hope was that Kevin Gausman would be able to come out of yesterday’s off day in strong fashion and have starter Kevin Gausman shut Tampa down in game one of a twin bill. Unfortunately nobody told the Tampa Rays of those plans, and Tampa jumped on Gausman’s pitches, which in fairness didn’t have the polish that one would expect. Gausman’s line: 5 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 4 BB, 1 K.
In fairness, Oriole bats didn’t do him any favors. The Baltimore Orioles did jump out to an early 1-0 lead following a Nick Markakis single, a Steve Pearce walk, and Adam Jones moving both runners into scoring position. Chris Davis proceeded to ground into a fielder’s choice-RBI – and the Birds had the lead. However James Loney was doubled home by Brandon Guyer in the second, and Tampa had suddenly tied the score. And that play in and of itself is indicative of how Tampa pushes the envelope. Loney was at first base (following a walk) and ran on the hit – allowing him to score.
However Tampa wasn’t done in the inning; Matt Joyce, who’s always been a bit of an Oriole killer, singled Guyer home, and suddenly the
Birds trailed. Joyce would also walk in the fourth and come into score on a Jose Molina RBI-single. To top things off, Joyce throw in another RBI-single in the sixth, which eventually chased Gausman from the game. The Orioles weren’t quite done yet, however. Whereas in the beginning part of the game they couldn’t push nary anything across on base against starter Alex Colome, Manny Machado would homer in the seventh inning to cut the Tampa lead to 5-2.
You can look at this game however you’d like, however as I’ve said before it all begins and ends with starting pitching. Gausman wasn’t good enough today to put this team in a position to win the game. And that happens with pitchers on occasion. My personal view of Gausman is that under no circumstances should he be sent back to the minors given this effort. I suspect that he’ll head back down but will be recalled for his next turn in the rotation, and aside from wasting an option that’s perfectly okay. But he’s reached a point where it’s sink or swim time. I think there’ll be a lot more swimming than sinking, but time will tell.
We also saw again the whole concept of nothing good happens after a walk. Two of Gausman’s walks came in to score. Admittedly none of this is an exact science in the sense that you want to throw the ball over the plate – but not catch too much of it. Not the easiest thing in the world to do. Which is what makes great starts so special in MLB.
The night cap of the twin bill beings just after 7 PM this evening, with Chris Tillman going for the Birds. He’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Jake Odorizzi. Just as a matter of housekeeping, this is the originally scheduled game that will be played tonight, whereas the afternoon bill was the make up of a previously rained out game. It’s also floppy hat night at Camden Yards, which is always a fan favorite giveaway year in and year out.