Baltimore Orioles: Tough luck for Kevin Gausman
Fans of the Baltimore Orioles finally got to see the Kevin Gausman of whom they had heard so much about for so long last night. Gausman was spectacular for the Orioles, technically working on short rest (although he only threw three innings in his start at Norfolk on Sunday). Gausman’s line: 6.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K. The Orioles probably would have preferred that he make it through more than just seven innings, however keep in mind that with seven strikeouts he had to burn at least 21 pitches (at a minimum) just in those at-bats.
The manner in which Gausman has been handled has been of some light controversy in Baltimore. Personally I’m of the mindset that at some point the Orioles have to turn him loose in the starting rotation. He was a mainstay in the second half last year, however other than that he’s been up and down. At a certain point, the concern is that the constant shuffle hurts his development and/or stunts his growth in a sense. But if the O’s get more of what we saw last night from him, that will effectively end the discussion.
The Orioles unfortunately made some unforced errors in this game. Admittedly it wasn’t a mistake or error that allowed Texas to win it, however when you make mistakes on the base paths you end up running
Courtesy of Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
yourself out of scoring opportunities. Adam Jones reached on an error in the first inning, only to get doubled off of first on Chris Davis‘ line drive to first baseman Mitch Moreland. And that actually brings up an interesting point; I’ve spoken for some time about how Oriole hitters seem to hit the ball to literally the exact same spots, which allows teams to be pretty sure in their shifts against the Birds. Does this make it easier to double guys up in a sense?
In effect, the O’s couldn’t get anything going even when things got cooking. When they’d put a few runners on base, someone would strike out or ground into a double-play. In fairness, that’s what happened when Texas was hitting as well for the most part. As I said, Gausman was clutch last night. However also keep in mind that pitchers will generally have ten good starts, ten poor, and ten in between over the course of a season. When you end up dropping the game when your starter has a good start, it makes things tough.
To be fair, the Orioles ran into unexpectedly good Texas pitching in this series, including Yovani Gallardo last night. But every team has good pitching in the sense that they have a big league staff. You have to work through it, and that’s something with which the O’s struggled last night and for this series.
We still had a 0-0 tie going into the ninth, however it was a walk issued by Chaz Roe that did the Birds in. Shin-Soo Choo walked to start the inning, and he was bunted to second base by Elvis Andrus. Leonys Martin‘s RBI-single drove in Choo, and the Orioles trailed 1-0. Rougned Odor would add an RBI-single of his own, and in the end Texas’ 2-0 lead held up and sent the Birds down in defeat. They dropped three-or four in this series, however finished the homestand with four wins and three losses.
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After the game Buck Showalter spoke to reporters about a wide range of topics, including his impressions of starter Kevin Gausman (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko of MASNsports):
"Good, real good. He was using both depths with his fastball. We talked before, pitching down all the time isn’t always (good). Good hitters get their arms extended. But he changed eye levels a lot with his fastball, which I thought was really good. Something he and Wally (Dave Wallace) have been working on. He was really good. We had talked around 90 pitches tonight. He gave us a really good effort. He gave us a chance to win. We just obviously didn’t put much together offensively. (Yovani) Gallardo came off another good start, so we knew we were going to be challenged tonight there. We got the type of pitching that gives you a chance."
As I inferred above, Orioles fans saw the Kevin Gausman they were promised in last night’s game when the O’s drafted him. If he can throw together more starts like that, his career will start to come together in the manner that he, his coaches, and his fans thought it would. But that’s ultimately up to him.
The Orioles now find themselves on the south side of Chicago where they’ll open up a three-game set over the fourth of July weekend with the ChiSox. Ubaldo Jimenez will get his second start of the year against Chicago, the first of course being the famed game with no fans in the midst of the riots in Baltimore back in April. Jimenez will be opposed by John Danks. Game time is set for just after 8 PM.
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