If Kevin Gausman of the Baltimore Orioles was to go on and have a dominant second half, one might point to yesterday’s game as the moment he put the American League on notice. The Orioles may have gotten the best effort of Gausman’s career yesterday. Certainly and needless to say, it was his best performance of the season. Gausman’s line: 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 9 K.
It’s tough to find any issues whatsoever with a starter that goes seven innings and gives up two runs. Luckily for Gausman however, things were clicking on the other side of the ball as well. Because the Orioles’ offense came out of it’s slight funk and put runs on the board.
The Birds took a 1-0 lead in the third when Smith reached base on a throwing error which allowed Joseph to score. And right there you do see the value of having guys on base. The Orioles base their offense around power (power which came later, I might add), and Tampa bases theirs on getting people on base. Sometimes fluky things happen, such as throwing errors. Now in Tampa’s case they kind of base their offense off of the assumption that fluky things happen. And when they don’t (which they didn’t yesterday), they’re kind of left high and dry.
But what did happen yesterday was that we saw the Orioles’ power. Following the run scored on the error, Manny Machado smacked his first homer in 41 at-bats – this one of the three-run variety. One inning later Mark Trumbo joined the parade with a solo shot, and the O’s led 5-0. Smith would add a two-RBI double in the seventh, and Tampa would get a run back on Sucre’s solo homer in the eighth to run the final to 7-1 in favor of the O’s.
However the story of the day was Kevin Gausman. He set the tone for the afternoon with an eight-pitch first inning. Think about that; eight pitches to record three outs. That doesn’t happen often.
As I said, if Gausman gets it together in the second half, you can point to yesterday’s game as a moment when it came together. And Gausman seemed to indicate that there was a chance that could happen after the game (quote courtesy of Steve Melewski, MASNsports):
I think you only get confidence from success. You have to have that first. Feel like I’m throwing the ball well right now and just gotta keep it going. Had a great second-half last year and looking forward to that and knowing I’m the type of guy that gets better as the season goes on.
Well after the game ended it was also announced that Jonathan Schoop had been selected to represent the Orioles at next week’s MLB all-star game in Miami. It’s well-deserved by the second baseman, who for the moment is the Orioles’ lone representative. That could in theory change if someone can’t play or chooses not to.
After the brief homestand the O’s now travel to Milwaukee for the opener of a three-game set. Wade Miley gets the start this afternoon, and he’ll be opposed by Milwaukee’s Brent Suter. Game time is set for just after 2 PM.