Following last night’s 5-1 loss to Cleveland, Buck Showalter said that starter Kevin Gausman was “good.” But obviously he wasn’t good enough in a sense, as the Birds fell. Gausman’s line: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 9 K.
Saying he wasn’t good enough is probably a bit harsh. Gausman came within one out of a quality start last night. Save for the fifth inning, he was very good last night. And in fairness, Cleveland’s a team that will paper cut you to death. They’re incredibly adept at placing the ball exactly where fielders aren’t playing. They live and die by bloops and blasts.
It’s a tough sell to argue that a starting pitcher wasn’t good enough when he struck out nine hitters. Especially in 5.2 innings. Oriole bats didn’t do Gausman any favors either, as the Birds couldn’t muster any runs until the bitter end.
Cleveland got on the board in the fifth on an RBI-double by Perez. As I said above, they’re very good at placing the ball right where the fielder’s aren’t. In this case Perez smacked it between Jones and Kim in the outfield, and it went all the way to the wall. The runner scored from first as a result. That was only one run, however Lindor’s two-run homer later in the inning gave Cleveland a 3-0 lead.
Cleveland is one of the few teams who can seemingly toe the line between small ball and power. Their innings start innocently enough, with a base hit or a walk here or there. But that’s all they seem to need. Somewhere else along the way, someone else comes up and either hits the ball over the wall or finds a way to drive that runner in. And when you have guys who can hit the ball exactly where they ain’t combined with speed on the base paths, and yes people will often score from first.
Lindor would also smack an RBI-single in the ninth, followed by another RBI-single by Kipnis. The O’s would get on the board in the last of the ninth on Jonathan Schoop‘s RBI-double, but it was too little too late. The O’s actually missed their opportunity back in the seventh when they had the bases loaded, and couldn’t score.
And that’s as much a part of the Orioles’ problems of late as anything else. Other teams are making the Birds pay when they make mistakes. When they went through a stretch where uncharacteristic errors were occurring in the infield, opponents were finding ways to score and thus hold the Birds accountable. But when presented with an opportunity such as the bases loaded with nobody out, the O’s are letting other teams off the hook.
And much of that is the thirst for power. Believe me folks, I’m a power guy. I don’t necessarily think that piece mealing runs together through sac flies and double-plays is efficient. It might get you a run here or there, but power gets you more. However other teams know that Oriole batters are swinging for the fences when they come up – especially with the bases loaded. So if in some instances they focused on just getting a hit as opposed to a homer, there might be more runs on the board here and there.
Buck Showalter will be leaving the team today to attend the birth of his grandson. So congratulations are in order for Buck and his entire family! John Russel will manage the team in Showalter’s absence, and he’ll (Showalter) rejoin the Orioles this weekend in Tampa.
The series with Cleveland concludes this evening at Camden Yards with the Birds trying to even it. Wade Miley gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Cleveland’s Mike Clevinger. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.