Young starting pitchers will often look great in games, but also leave us with moments where we wonder what happened. That’s the type of game the Baltimore Orioles got out of Kevin Gausman in last night’s game against Anaheim. Gausman’s line: 7 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 2 K. So Gausman got himself and the Orioles a quality start, but he struggled in one inning (5th) of the game.
The O’s got started early offensively, as Manny Machado picked right up where he left off on Tuesday with a one out single. That brought Adam Jones to the plate, and he hit the first pitch he saw in the air. The ball had a lot of carry on it, and when all was said and done it ended up in the sod farm in center field at Camden Yards. The O’s appeared to be right on their way with a the 2-0 lead, but no lead is safe in the first inning…
…which is why the Birds didn’t stop there. With two outs in the last of the fourth David Lough doubled Steve Pearce home from second base, giving the O’s a 3-0 lead. On Ryan Flaherty‘s subsequent RBI-single, the Orioles had a 4-0 lead and appeared well in control of the game.
However as Lee Corso often says on ESPN’s College Gameday program during college football, “…not so fast!” Anaheim is a good team with a lot of potent bats. After recording two outs in the top of the fifth, Gausman walked three straight hitters. Incidentally, they were Anaheim’s first base runners of the game, as Gausman had pitched perfect baseball to that point.
Chris Ianetta came up, and made Gausman pay for those walks, with a two-RBI single. That brought Calhoun to the plate, and he added an RBI-double of his own, cutting the Orioles’ lead to 4-3.
That will occasionally happen to young pitchers; the second or third time through the lineup will often get youngsters as such, and they’ll often appear on the verge of collapse. What this generally means is that the opponent has adjusted to the pitcher. The good pitchers will find ways to re-adjust and to get their mojo back in a sense.
That’s exactly what Gausman did last night, as he allowed one base hit through the sixth and seventh innings. Darren O’Day was also incredibly clutch in the top of the eighth, sending down Anaheim 1-2-3. Zach Britton earned his first save since last week in Anaheim, and the O’s ended up with a 4-3 victory.
I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention Manny Machado’s defense this morning. Macahdo made a near-impossible play where he went well behind third base in the fourth to field a ball, and somehow threw the runner out at first base to end the fourth. Machado also made a play on a ball in the infield that ended the game when he threw the runner out at first base.
The series concludes tonight at 7 PM with Bud Norris taking to the bump for the O’s. He’ll be opposed by Anaheim’s Tyler Skaggs. Earlier yesterday there were all kinds of rumors that had Boston trading starting pitcher Jon Lester to the Orioles. As the afternoon went on, the rumors turned into the old concept of the sides are talking but nothing’s close to happening. Granted that the speculation is in effect part of the fun of the trade deadline, unless it’s done in moderation it’s virtually meaningless.
I’m of the mindset that Lester could potentially help the Orioles if they were to bring him in. Whether or not the Orioles feel they can meet Boston’s requests in terms of what gets sent back in exchange is another story. But there’s no question that Lester would help the Birds at this point. Stay tuned, and BUCKle UP!