Baltimore Orioles: Second-Half Success Depends on Kevin Gausman


The Baltimore Orioles are 37-30 this season in games started by Wei-Yin Chen, Chris Tillman, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Miguel Gonzalez.

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  • This is good news for fans.

    But hold the applause. The team is only 44-44. Something doesn’t add up.

    Five minutes later — by way of middle-school math — we come to find out that in games started by anyone else, the team is 7-14.

    *gut punch*

    *dark clouds gathering*

    *children screaming*

    The “anyone else” we are referring to, of course, is a regiment starring the likes of Mike Wright, Tyler Wilson, Bud Norris, and Kevin Gausman.

    Someone needs to step up.

    Norris had the highest expectations of this group to start the season. He was projected as the fourth starter, and a consistent 2014 season earned him a wealth of trust from fans. However, after wrangling together a 6-plus ERA this year, Bud has found himself a position in the bullpen that does not look to be temporary.

    Wright and Wilson have definitely been intriguing, but their appearances seem to only have been injury-alleviating spot starts. Coach Buck Showalter — extremely mindful of his young players’ confidence — is very cautious about calling up pitchers before they’re ready. I think, barring injury, Wright and Wilson will stay in the minor leagues for the majority of the second half.

    Now to Kevin Gausman. Currently in AAA Norfolk, Gausman is going to get the first crack at becoming the fifth starter for the O’s after the All-Star break. Dubbed as the team’s future ace, this was supposed to be his breakout year.

    It has not been. No one will argue that. But the season is far from over.

    In fact, he really hasn’t had much experience in 2015. After starting the season in the bullpen, Gausman has only pitched in 27 major league innings this year– this includes three starting appearances.

    His bullpen work was acceptable, yet unimpressive. But saving the arm of the team’s top pitching prospect for the second half of the season may have been exactly the plan of Buck Showalter and his Orioles.

    In his three starts, Gausman has done well twice. His third and most recent time — July 7 at the Twins — was a disaster, as he handed over 8 runs in 3.2 innings.

    His future is a mystery, but I know the Orioles’ organization has a lot of faith in the young pitcher. In 2017 and further, the team will likely rely on Gausman as their number one pitcher. In 2015, however, their playoff hopes hinge on him simply becoming a consistent bottom-of-the-rotation guy.

    Last year, Kevin started 20 games and posted a 3.57 ERA. Improvement would be wonderful, but you’ve seen how well the rest of the O’s staff has pitched — a repeat season from Gausman is going to be all the Orioles need this year.