The Baltimore Orioles got a great outing out of Kevin Gausman last night. In fact, they got a winning outing out of Kevin Gausman. Or what should have been a winning outing at least. Gausman’s line: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 8 K.
When he was at LSU, Gausman was what was referred to as the Friday Night Starter. In other words, he was the ace; the guy that you wanted on the mound on Friday nights when the stands were packed. And he certainly pitched like an ace last night.
Gausman however was greeted rudely in the top of the first when he gave up a solo homer to Adduci right off the bat. However mind you, they say that solo home runs don’t beat you. And that’s generally going to be true.
Tim Beckham continued his hot play for the Birds, smacked a solo shot of his own in the last of the second to tie the game. Beckham had hit the Orioles fairly tough all year, hitting a few homers off of Orioles’ pitching in fact. And that’s part of why the Orioles wanted to acquire him, because he does hit well at Camden Yards. He’s certainly been a shot in the arm since arriving.
One inning later, the Orioles had the lead on a solo homer by Manny Machado. And with how Gausman was pitching, it appeared that the game would stay that way. Even after Gausman turned it over to the bullpen, this was the Orioles’ bullpen – right?
Even the Orioles’ bullpen is stocked with mere mortals. Human beings sometimes make mistakes. Mychal Givens came into pitch the eighth, and two hits and a walk later, the bases were loaded. That brought Upton to the plate with one down, and he lined a grand slam over the left field fence, giving Detroit the lead. And in fact, that gave Detroit the win at 5-2.
This is where you have to look at guys’ track records and almost look the other way after a game like this. Givens has been very reliable and very solid all season. And as I said above, we’re dealing with human beings here. After the game Buck Showalter addressed Givens’ performance (quotes courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):
He pitched well. He was the victim of a couple broken-bat singles to right field. Can’t really fault him for that. He made good pitches and they fisted them out over the infield where Joey can’t get to them. It’s just one of those well-placed balls. I think he threw one or two breaking balls the whole inning. That’s how good of a fastball he was carrying. Unfortunately, one got a lot of the plate there with the left fielder, Upton. But he’s been throwing as good as anybody. You put a long list of relievers together, he’s right there with them. But tonight just bit him.
These next two games against Detroit are very important for the Orioles, and not only because they don’t want to drop the series. After tomorrow’s game the Birds embark on their annual west coast trip, and they’ll be gone for nearly two weeks. You don’t want to go into a trip like that on a low.