Kevin Gausman gave David Ortiz exactly what he was looking for on a key pitch, and that one slip up helped Boston defeat the Baltimore Orioles.
During Baltimore Orioles’ games and those involving many other teams, we hear a lot about not giving in. In essence, giving in means grooving a fastball over the plate when the hitter’s looking for it. Now keep in mind that it’s only considered giving in if that doesn’t work – there’s always the chance that the guy strikes out. But when he doesn’t, the results are glaring.
Kevin Gausman pitched a fairly decent game for the Orioles, save for a few things. Gausman’s line: 6.1 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 5 K. Those ten hits, five strikeouts and only one walk indicate that he was probably giving in a little too much. In essence, he was getting too much of the plate or throwing too many strikes. Against a team like Boston, that coud be a problem.
Boston took a 1-0 lead when Hanley Ramirez grounded into a force out which allowed a run to score in the third inning. One inning later they led 2-0 on Jackie Bradley Jr.’s solo homer. At this point Boston seemed content piecemealing their lead a bit, but the Orioles countered.
Just because these games are huge and there’s an immediacy to them doesn’t mean that they aren’t still capable of some pretty cool moments. The Orioles had called up prospect Trey Mancini from the minors, and started him as the designated hitter last night. With his mother watching his big leauge debut from the stands, Mancini delivered his first big league hit in his second at-bat (in the last of the fifth)…
…it just so happened that his first hit was a solo homer. Getting to witness your kid’s major league debut is pretty cool, especially if he knotches his first hit in the major leagues. But having that first hit be a homer? I’m not sure that happens too often!
However Gausman had David Ortiz down two strikes in his at-bat in the seventh. And he decided to give in and throw a fastball over the plate. Ortiz’s subsequent three-run homer gave Boston a 5-1 lead, and may have damaged the Orioles’ division hopes. Gausman’s intent was good – to muscle a third strike past Ortiz and notch an out. However on 1-2 it would have been better to in effect waste a pitch and see if you could get him reaching.
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The Orioles would run the final to 5-2 on J.J. Hardy’s RBI-single in the last of the seventh, however all things being equal the game would have been tied if not for that pitch. It really illustrates the fine line between winning and losing – both in life and in this league.
If the O’s aren’t able to win the division or if they miss the post season, that’s not to say that it’ll be Gausman’s fault. The way you finish in the standings is the sum of all things in the season. That pitch is something that will stand out to a lot of people, however it’s certainly not a reflection on Gausman that the O’s could only put two runs on the board. And the fact is that there’s still a lot for which to fight in this year.
The series continues this evening at Camden Yards. Ubaldo Jimenez will be on the mound for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s Clay Buchholz. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.