Baltimore Orioles: Kevin Gausman strong as Birds cruise

Kevin Gausman turned in a very strong start in the Baltimore Orioles’ 9-3 victory over Pittsburgh.

The Baltimore Orioles have had some trouble “putting it all together” thus far in spring training. However we saw a flash of that in this afternoon’s 9-3 victory over Pittsburgh in Sarasota. Kevin Gausman looked incredibly sharp, although his numbers might indicate otherwise. Gausman’s line: 4 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 3 K.

Courtesy of Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Gausman pitched three good innings and then in the fourth he started mixing in some breaking balls – again, sometimes these games are about working on specific pitches. He gave up a two-run homer to McCutchen, and a sac fly-RBI to Figueroa in the fourth. However overall he looked very strong, which is good news for Birds’ fans.

However the O’s weren’t trailing for long. Jonathan Schoop smacked a three-run homer in the last of the fifth which tied the score at three. Orioles fans can expect a great year out of Schoop this season. Keep in mind that last year he began the season on the DL. Presuming that he stays healthy, he should be a great guy on which to keep an eye. 

One inning later J.J. Hardy hit a ground-rule double with runners at the corners, which gave the Orioles a 4-3 lead. Christian Walker‘s three-run homer in the last of the seventh opened the game up, as the Orioles took a 7-3 lead. L.J. Hoes would add an RBI-single, and Joey Rickard a solo homer in the eighth to close out the scoring on the Orioles’ 9-3 victory.

In my personal opinion the story du jour was Gausman. As much as we’ve talked about the presumed starters being underwhelming thus far, Gausman’s looked decent – including today. That doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s going to start the season in that same manner, however he’s looked decent. Hardy and Walker were both great with the bats this afternoon, which is good to see.

The Orioles are seriously considering trying Christian Walker out in the outfield given the fact that they can’t put him at first base. I’ve always seen Walker as trade bait since the Davis signing, however that also tells me that the team doesn’t want to lose Walker’s bat. He’s had a very good spring at the plate thus far, and that obviously continued today. 

The Orioles will have a split squad day tomorrow, with games at Boston in the afternoon and vs. Minnesota at home in the evening. On Friday night they’ll head to Tampa to play New York, before spending the weekend with Tampa (Saturday in Port Charlotte and Sunday in Sarasota). That leads them into Monday’s lone scheduled off day in spring training, which I suspect will come as a blessing to players and coaches alike. It gives players time to get their minds straight, and coaches time to talk about pending decisions. 

Vance Worley will get the start for the O’s tomorrow afternoon in Fort Myers, and Mike Wright will start the nightcap at home against Minnesota. For what it’s worth at this time, Minnesota hasn’t announced a starter as of yet. The first game is set for just after 1 PM, and the second for just after 7 PM.