It’s rare when the Baltimore Orioles can’t keep up with home runs. But it happened last night. As I said, it’s rare – not unprecedented. Kevin Gausman didn’t have his “good stuff,” although when it gets hot and humid the ball does of course fly out of Camden Yards. Gausman’s line: 4.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 4 BB, 3 K.
The damage began in the first inning right off the bat. Guasman surrendered a solo shot to Trout, and the Orioles trailed 1-0. Now the one thing you can say about Gausman last night is that at the very least he only gave up solo shots and two-run homers. They say however that solo home runs aren’t going to hurt you per se. That’s true – so long as you don’t give up several of them.
In fairness to Gausman, the Orioles couldn’t muster much as the plate. Anaheim’s Ramirez really shut them down. Their one run came in the last of the first when Tim Beckham scored on a wild pitch. Yes, folks…Beckham was on base again. It’s really amazing the impact this guy has made since coming to the O’s, and thus far he’s looking like a great acquisition.
It also shows how good things can happen when you get guys on base. I’m a firm believer in winning games primarily with power which is what Anaheim of course did. So in a sense, singles don’t mean as much in the moment. But when guys get on base you just never know what’s going to happen. A wild pitch or a pass ball can get him into scoring position, or in this case score him from third.
One inning later however, Anaheim had the lead back for good on a solo homer by Valbuena. Trout would smack a second home run in the third (another solo shot), as would Valbuena in the fourth – this one of the two-run variety. And that’s your ballgame. While the home run parade got to Gausman, the Orioles couldn’t put any further runs across to make a game of it.
So while Gausman was off, it’s tough to point at him and say that allowing all of those homers lost the game for the team. Every win and every loss is always a team effort – and that’s true in every sport. The bats needed to step it up last night, and they couldn’t do it. But of course one of the great things about baseball is that the next day brings another chance to win a game.
The O’s will try to take the series in this afternoon’s finale at Camden Yards. Chris Tillman will come out of the bullpen and make the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Anaheim’s Parker Birdwell (formerly of the Orioles’ organization). Game time is set for just after 1:30 PM.
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.
You aren’t going to get a better outing than what Kevin Gausman gave the Baltimore Orioles last night. It may well have been his best outing as a pro. And certainly it was what the Orioles thought and were hoping they’d be getting from Gausman all these years. Gausman’s line: 8.2 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 8 K.
Gausman was masterful, and he dominated a Texas lineup that had looked pretty darn potent the night before. But you’re only as good as your next day’s starter, and in this case that means the Orioles were good last night. And while they didn’t put up runs in bunches, they certainly put up enough to make Gausman a winner.
Trey Mancini smacked a solo homer in the second inning which put the Orioles on the board at 1-0. But wouldn’t you know it, the Orioles weren’t done – in that inning. Caleb Joseph‘s solo shot doubled the Orioles’ lead, and gave them a 2-0 advantage.
One inning later Mancini came up again and managed to yield a run by grounding into a force out. And Seth Smith added an RBI-single before the inning was out, to give the Birds a 4-0 lead. And that was your final.
But the story of the day was Gausman. Luckily for him the Orioles were able to put runs on the board, because you’d hate to waste an effort like that. Gausman did have just a bit of help in the last of the third when Texas tried to get back into the game. As Gallo sent a deep shot to straight away center field, Adam Jones reached over the wall and brought the ball back.
Buck Showalter spoke after the game, and seemed to want to allow Gausman to finish the game. However after putting two guys on base, that wasn’t an option (quote courtesy of Steve Melewski, MASNsports):
I think everybody did. Should have figured out a way to catch a pop up. Big double play. Manny (Machado) and Jon (Schoop), my gosh, they turned a couple tonight. That last one. They make them look easy, I hope everybody appreciates how hard that is. Those are hard. The one thing that Manny does that nobody else does, is the amount of velocity he can create on the ball from a lot of different angles. It’s like they tell the kids don’t try that at home. But he deserved to finish. Like to see him get that last out but he was in the area. We had 110 on him tonight and you know, just trying to create margin of error there with Zach (Britton) hadn’t pitched in a couple of days. It’s unfortunate. We got to figure out a way to catch that ball.
The Baltimore Orioles will open the second half of the season tonight as league play resumes across Major League Baseball. The Birds were a bit dismayed at the schedule towards the end of the first half, with in essence having to visit five different cities (including a short stop back in Baltimore). However on the flip side they get to open the second half with an eleven-game homestand, starting tonight against the Chicago Cubs.
The northsiders come to Baltimore every six years with interleague play, so there is some interest in this series. Especially with Chicago being defending World Series champions. How many times in your lifetime have you seen that term?!
In Chicago, the Birds see a team that could have struggled more so than they have. Last Sunday Chicago’s Lester gave up ten runs in .2 innings pitched to start the game (in the first inning). So their pitching hasn’t been quite up to snuff either.
However they do have strong bats, much like those of the Orioles. Speaking of which, the Birds will get Chris Davis back starting tonight, which is good news. They’re going to need a strong second half out of him if they’re going to make a run at things. But ultimately they need the pitching to smooth out.
The good news for the Orioles is that there isn’t one team in the AL East that hasn’t gone through a long losing streak this year. So the O’s are far from out of it. If they can get things ramped up quickly, they’ll be in good shape.
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.
Kevin Gausman far from pitched perfectly last night for the Baltimore Orioles in Toronto. However he dealt hard enough to put the Birds in a position to win the game, and that’s all you ask of your starter. Gausman’s line: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K.
Unlike previous Gausman starts and previous starts by other Orioles pitchers, Gausman pitched to contact last night. And Toronto right now it in a spot where the Orioles were a week or two ago. They’re trying to hit grand slams when nobody’s on base in effect. They know that they have the power to win games in a division that lives and dies by the homer, but at the moment they’re dying by it. The O’s just hope that trend continues until at least Friday.
The O’s did most of their damage right off the bat in the first inning. The had two runners on with two gone with Mark Trumbo striding to the plate. He sent a line drive to dead center, which went all the way to the wall. That ended up a two-RBI double, and it gave the Orioles a 2-0 lead.
Later in the game in the top of the third, Adam Jones smacked an RBI-single, and the Birds led 3-0. And the rest of it is pitching. Gausman looked good until the sixth inning when he was lifted due to a high pitch count. Obviously you want your starter to go a little longer than 5.1 innings if possible. However the Orioles will take an outing like that out of a starting pitcher everyday if they can get it.
The Orioles used Mychal Givens in relief of Gausman, and he actually got himself into some trouble early on. He didn’t seem to have much control, throwing a wild pitch and forcing the catcher Castillo to use acrobatics to prevent other wild pitches. He loaded up the bases with one down, and suddenly the Orioles’ lead appeared tenuous at best…
…however he induced Donaldson to line out to third, and Morales to strike out swinging. That ended the inning and the threat, and preserved the Orioles’ lead. Pitchers will often get themselves in trouble. It’s the nature of the position. But the good ones will also find their way out of trouble.
Toronto would get a run back with two down in the ninth on a solo homer by Tulowitzki, however at the end of the day that was all but meaningless. The Birds cruised to a 3-1 lead, starting off their trip to Canada the right way. The victory brings the Orioles back to the .500 mark on the season.
The Baltimore Orioles don’t normally play well in Toronto. This much we know, historically at least. Granted they did take two-of-three north of the border back in April. But in general they just don’t play well north of the border.
And while the Birds have gotten themselves together a bit over the course of the past two games, it’s concerning that they’re heading up there now. I’ll be honest; I think that part of the issue is that Toronto tries as hard as they can to be disagreeable. And in general they succeed at it.
Ultimately this tactic antagonizes opponents, especially one like the Orioles – who try to be as professional as possible at all times. Unfortunately, the Orioles buy into this tactic at times, hook, line, and sinker. Yes Toronto’s tactics are at times despicable – staring people down, hot dogging on home runs, and boorish celebrations. But the O’s would do well to not let these things get to them, because that’s Toronto’s aim.
This is a big series for the O’s, because suddenly they’ve found themselves a bit on the uptick, whereas the rest of the division is a bit down. If they could pull two-of-three in this series they’d be in very good shape moving forward. But as always, it all comes down to starting pitching.