Baltimore Orioles, Kevin Gausman fall in Minneapolis


If you’re the Baltimore Orioles and Kevin Gausman, you don’t lose a game 8-3 and blame “bad luck” or “bad breaks.” In fact, it doesn’t matter who you are and how many runs by which you lose; you often have to make your own luck. And while the O’s didn’t do too many things right in last night’s loss in Minneapolis, the fact is that all of the breaks went the other way. But to their credit, Minnesota took advantage of all of the breaks they were given in the game – be they mental blunders on the Orioles’ part, or just sheer luck.

Kevin Gausman was unable to make it out of the fourth inning last night, and he seemed to lose his control towards the end of his outing. Gausman’s line: 3.2 IP, 7 H, 8 R, 1 BB, 4 K. Now in fairness, several of those runs scored after Gausman had departed the game, however granted he’s still responsible for the runners on base. It’s very easy to look at this game and suggest that had someone else been pitching or had Gausman been on his game, the O’s would have won 3-0. But those are the breaks.

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    When things go south in a game quickly, it always starts innocently enough; Joe Mauer hit a one-out single in the last of the first. Gausman threw a wild pitch, and suddenly he’s on second. Trevor Plouffe‘s RBI-double gave Minnesota the lead. That was followed by a two-run homer by Miguel Sano, and the O’s trailed 3-0. MASN’s Jim Palmer made a very valid point during the game in that Gausman wasn’t using any of his off speed pitches for the most part. Minnesota seemed to not only recognize that as time went on, but they anticipated it. So they forced Gausman to throw the ball over the plate and to use his fastball; and when you can’t mix a change up or breaking ball in there, you’re asking for trouble.

    Mauer singled again in the last of the third, and strangely enough went to second on another Gausman wild pitch. After moving up on a groundout, he managed to score to give Minnesota a 4-0 lead on a passed ball by Matt Wieters. Unlike the first inning however, Gausman pitched out of the third. However if not for some unforeseen incident, none of those four runs would have scored – in theory. And again, you have to credit Minnesota for taking advantage of the breaks they were given. The Orioles aren’t always able to do that, and on occasion they end up letting teams off the hook in a sense.

    Brian Dozier would add a sac fly-RBI in the fourth, and Gausman would exit after loading the bases by hitting Trevor Plouffe. That brought Sano back to the plate, and he took a walk from Brad Brach to run the score to 6-0. Rosario would add a two-RBI single to make it 8-0, however the Orioles got out of the inning by throwing out Sano trying to advance to third base.

    The only good news of the night for the Birds was that they did attempt to battle back just a bit. Travis Snider led off the fifth with a single, and he would later score on J.J. Hardy‘s two-run homer. Going forward to the eighth, Minnesota once again caught a break. The line score says that Adam Jones tacked on an RBI-double to make it 8-3 – which was the final. However Jones sent a deep shot to center field, which probably would have been a homer in most parks. However the pitcher-friendly AL Central parks don’t seem to take a liking to teams like the Orioles and their homer parade act; Jones’ shot ticked off of the top of the wall and was ruled a double.

    This is not to say that the extra run would have meant anything, because I don’t think it would have. But momentum does matter, and a home run always adds momentum. However the fact is that the Orioles swing for the fences each at-bat. And that’s not necessarily a problem, as that’s the culture in which they play in the AL East. But it doesn’t always work in a park like Target Field or even US Cellular Field, where small ball is valued more.

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    After the game the Orioles optioned Kevin Gausman to triple-A Norfolk. First baseman Christian Walker is expected to get the call-up today to join the Orioles, which is interesting to me. I’ve said in the past that I wasn’t a fan of Gausman riding the Norfolk shuttle back and forth, however in this case I don’t see it as a problem. The O’s appear to now be committed to keeping him in the rotation so far as I can see, and even with games like last night’s that’s a good thing. But his turn in the rotation wouldn’t have come up again before the all-star break. So this gives the Birds an extra bench player, and it gives Gausman the opportunity to make a start at triple-A during the break – in effect it keeps him throwing.

    The Orioles are also expected to make a roster move in the bullpen prior to this afternoon’s game, and who that involves is anyone’s guess. Wesley Wright needs to come off the 60-day DL, so he’s my prediction. Time will tell. The Orioles will try to salvage a game in Minnesota in the series finale this afternoon. Ubaldo Jimenez will be on the mound, and he’ll be opposed by Tommy Milone. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

    Next: Baltimore Orioles: Time to move Machado to middle of order?

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