Keving Gausman partially has Chris Davis to thank for notching his first complete-game victory last night. He also partially has to thank the weather, as rain washed away the second half of the game. So perhaps it’s a bit deceiving to call it a complete game victory for Gausman, however the fact is that he pitched the entire game – as it was played that is. Gausman’s line: 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 1 K.
Gausman and the Baltimore Orioles got off to a fairly inauspicious beginning in this nationally
televised game on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball; Brett Gardner hit the fourth pitch of the game over the right field scoreboard and New York jumped out to a 1-0 lead. However to his credit Gausman settled down almost immediately and started battling. In that first inning he did catch a bit of a break however when Mark Texeira inexplicably tried to stretch (what should have been) a routine single into a double. Nick Markakis relayed the ball to J.J. Hardy, and Texeira was out by a mile.
Oriole bats took awhile to get on track however, as New York trotted out another rookie pitcher in Chase Whitley to face the Orioles. Many people question why rookie pitchers seem to have so much success against this team. That’s somewhat unclear, however keep in mind that most people are familiar with the likes of Markakis, Jones, Davis, Cruz, et al. They see them on ESPN quite frequently. It’s not a secret that Adam Jones can struggle with the low-and-away slider at times. However the inverse is not true when we’re dealing with a rookie; the Orioles don’t know what that pitcher is all about, which gives him a built-in advantage in a sense.
However the second time through the lineup the Birds started to get to Whitley.
sent a high drive the opposite way towards left field. The ball got out of the yard quick, and suddenly the Orioles had a 2-1 lead. J.J. Hardy would follow with a double, and after he moved to third on a Machado ground out he scored on Jonathan Schoop‘s RBI-single.
At that point the question became whether or not the O’s could record three outs in the fifth before NY either scored two runs or before the rain came. Sure enough, Gausman sent NY down 1-2-3, and Steve Pearce even had time to draw a lead off walk in the last of the fifth before the skies opened up. The teams waited out a rain delay of two hours plus before the game was called, with the Orioles gaining a five inning 3-1 victory.
So for the first time since 1997, the Baltimore Orioles find themselves ten games over .500 and in first place going into the all-star break. Toronto is four games back, and New York five. The O’s will now scatter for this week with the all-star game looming; most guys will head to their homes to spend some time with their families. Adam Jones and Nelson Cruz (along with Matt Wieters) of course will head to Minneapolis to take their place on the AL all-star team. Jones will participate in tonight’s Home Rune Derby, and both players will represent the Orioles on the field Tuesday night in the game.
New York manager Joe Girardi had a few comments about the rain delay after the game was called. To preface, I don’t think there was anything inferred by this. He’s just a competitor that wants to get the best advantages for his team. In effect, Girardi feels that in situations like this the game should be continued at a later date. He did also say that he knew that would be a departure from how MLB has always handled rain outs after the game becomes official, however his comment was that in this case the teams play each other again (in Baltimore at that) before the end of the season – why not finish the game?
I can see where he’s coming from; in a division at hotly contested and as close as the AL East is looking, teams want every advantage they can get. For instance, if New York misses the post season by a half game, they might not look kindly on only getting in half a game and having it count as a loss last night. So that point should be well-taken by fans league-wide.
However it’s in effect a matter of convenience that these two teams will face each other again. Would it be fair to say that in this particular case they’ll finish the game up the next time NY comes to town, when if the same circumstance had occurred when the O’s played at Detroit that wouldn’t apply? (The Orioles of course only make one trip each year to Detroit,) Girardi’s comments in no way came across as snarky or as sour grapes. And his point is not a bad one; however the fact is that you can’t have two sets of rules, one for games in which the teams face each other again and one for games when they don’t.