Tagged: Kevin Gausman

Baltimore Orioles: Kevin Gausman was good but not good enough

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.

Baltimore Orioles: Are there issues unseen?

As has been the case with a couple of other starters of late, Kevin Gausman put the Baltimore Orioles in a spot to win last night. And I say that contrary to what the final numbers may say. Gausman’s line: 5.2 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 3 BB, 7 K. That isn’t to say that he was perfect or couldn’t have been better – because that isn’t the case. But all you can ask of a starter is that he gives the team a chance to win, and Gausman did that.

Gausman ran into some trouble in the third when he loaded the bases and Fowler walked in a run. Piscotty then added a sac fly-RBI, and the O’s trailed 2-0. However Gausman did a good job of minimizing the damage to only two runs. And in fact, Machado’s sac fly-RBI in the last of the third brought the O’s to within 2-1.

However one of the few mistakes that Gausman made was hanging a slider to DeJong in the fourth, which went for a two-run homer. DeJong would also add an RBI-single in the sixth after Gausman left the game, however the run was charged to him. When I say that he put the O’s in a spot to win the game, I mean that when he left the score was 4-1 – well within striking distance. It didn’t get blown open until afterwards.

Gausman wasn’t lifted due to ineffectiveness. If anything he was fairly on his game last night. He had multiple at-bats where St. Louis hitters fouled off pitch after pitch. When all was said and done, he had thrown 116 pitches.

Carpenter would smack a two-run homer later in that sixth inning off of Gabriel Ynoa to run the score to 7-1. Ynoa had just been called up to replace the just-DL’d Wright. And he wasn’t a bad bet in that situation because he had never given up a big league home run. That obviously changed very quickly.

A solo homer by Fowler gave St. Louis an 8-1 lead, which in the eighth grew to 10-1 on a two-run home run by Phan. Gyorko also smacked a solo shot in the ninth, as did Trey Mancini of the Orioles. This left the final as an 11-2 loss for the Orioles.

There’s some disconnect on this Orioles team right now, and it’s tough to pinpoint from where it’s coming. There are multiple reports out there regarding the at-times rocky relationship between Showalter and Duquette – is it possible that tension spills onto the field? I would say no. Both men are at heart professionals; they wouldn’t allow something like that to affect the players.

The Orioles’ clubhouse is famously close, and in the past that has really carried them. Has that somehow changed? I would severely doubt it, however you never know. Furthermore even guys who are just called up are making unforced errors. Ynoa struck out the first two hitters in the seventh, only to allow a base runner on an error committed by he himself. It’s doubtful that even a player just called up would be making errors on the field because of a rift in the clubhouse.

What you do have is a team that recognizes it’s struggling, and that’s pushing way to hard to win. It’s understandable, however often times you have to battle yourself to snap out of a streak like this. And this is true in real life as well as in sports sometimes.

The series continues late this afternoon at Camden Yards. Wade Miley gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by St. Louis’ Adam Wainwright. Game time is set for just after 4 PM this afternoon.

Baltimore Orioles: No joy in Mudville

Kevin Gausman‘s rough first inning led to the Baltimore Orioles in essence being boatraced once again yesterday afternoon in the Bronx. Gausman’s line: 3.1 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 6 BB, 0 K. Seven walks are what stands out in this case; when you hand out free passes, you give the opponent a shot to score. And when that opponent is hitting anything within the zip code, it’s a recepie for disaster.

NY got a two-RBI single from Castro in the first, and then a three-run homer from Sanchez. It seemed that New York knew what was coming – seemingly before Gausman. However the O’s did try to make a run of things. Tehada’s RBI-double in the third cut the lead to 5-1, which was followed by RBI-doubles by Smith and Schoop. But that’s as close as the Orioles were allowed to get.

However make no mistake about the fact that this doesn’t all fall upon Gausman. The Orioles committed a lot of uncharacteristic mistakes in this game and this weekend, such as Schoop botching double-plays, and balls falling in the outfield square between two players. Part of a game like this and quite frankly a series like this is momentum. The Orioles were seemingly listless from the first moments of the game and of the series. And it translate into the results that we saw.

NY would proceed to put nine more runs on the board before all was said and done – including two homers by Judge. Whereas the Orioles seem to be playing a knotch below everyone else right now, New York is a step ahead. Now with that said, savvy fans also know that at some point the pendulumn swings back the other way. History says that there’s no reason to believe that this Orioles team won’t be in the race until the end.

However the O’s do need to get it together – and quick. The hope is that this week’s trip to Chicago will act as a get well type of series. Yes that sounds somewhat arrogant; however mind you that the Orioles are a much better team than the ChiSox (who they swept a few weeks ago).

Time will tell, however it’s an opportunity for the O’s to get some momentum under their wings. Hopefully they’ll also be able to get Machado back in the lineup, as his absence has been felt on both offense and defense. One way or the other, they’ll be glad to get out of New York.

The Chicago series begins tonight at US Cellular Field. Wade Miley gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Chicago’s Mike Pelfrey. Game time is set for just after 8 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Disjointed three games in interleague play

Kevin Gausman heads to the mound tonight for the Baltimore Orioles as they open a two-game set with Pittsburgh. I’m not a fan of these two-game series’, be they interleague play or not. In my view they just don’t make much sense. I suppose that we condition ourselves to believe that series’ are supposed to be three games, and in some instances four. But…two?!

However in terms of balancing an otherwise unbalanced schedule, this is what the Orioles have to do. For what it’s worth, they’ll make a two-game swing through Pittsburgh to complete a home-and-home this year during the final week of the season. Perfect time for interleague play, right?

Speaking of which, the Birds were supposed to have two days off this week, however that’s been trimmed to one (that being yesterday). On Thursday they’ll head back down the pike to take on the Washington Nationals in a makeup game rescheduled from last month. The red-hot Washington Nationals, I might add.

Pittsburgh’s struggled this year, and Washington has thrived – all of that is unimportant for the most part. You still have to play the games in a sense. However the difficult part for the Orioles is having to condition themselves to play one floating game this week under National League rules. It appears that Bundy will get the start on Thursday, and he’ll be hitting in the order as well.

At least if you’re looking at an entire series or even a stretch of games where you’re playing under National League rules, you can perhaps better condition your lineup to deal with the loss of a Mancini, Trumbo, etc. for a game. But one game makes it tough to do – you almost have to just sweat through it and hope for the best.

Of course tonight and tomorrow night’s games against Pittsburgh will be played under American League rules since the games will be at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. So no problem there. It’s just that one floating NL game on Thursday night which will pose an issue. But the Orioles will deal with it – they always do.

Of course there is one way around this type of thing in the future. The American League could outlaw the DH and go back to pitchers having to hit in the order just like everyone else. Yes folks, I recognize that there’s next to no chance of that happening, and that at some point the NL will probably adopt the DH instead. But I’ve always preferred the National League game because I believe that pitchers should in fact take a turn at the plate while they’re in the game. It also provides for more strategy late in games. But that’s another story for another day.

The aforementioned Kevin Gausman starts tonight for the O’s in game one of two against Pittsburgh at Camden Yards. He’ll be opposed by Pittsburgh’s Ivan Nova. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles waste a good Kevin Gausman start

Kevin Gausman gave the Baltimore Orioles exactly what they needed last night in Houston. The Birds got a quality start out of Gausman, who pitched a great game. Gausman’s line: 6.2 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 2 K.

The issue was that they didn’t score any runs. If you can’t put runs on the board, you literally have no shot at winning. NO SHOT. No matter how good your starting pitching and bullpen is.

They say that solo home runs won’t kill you. But they will when you can’t score in a game. Houston got a solo homer from Marisnick in the last of the third, and an additional solo shot from Beltran in the last of the sixth. And that was the ballgame.

The most incriminating part of the game for the Birds was the top of the eighth. The O’s got a double from Kim, and singles from Schoop and Hardy to load the bases before an out was even recorded. It seemed that the Orioles had Houston right where they wanted them…but they (the O’s) let them off the hook. Smith struck out for the first out, and Jones and Machado both flied out.

On the Jones fly out, my personal opinion was that the runner at third (Kim) should or could have tagged up and tried to score. The scouting reports on Reddick (the Houston left fielder) indicated that he has a great arm without a doubt. However I thought he would have had to make a near perfect throw to nail Kim at the plate. Sometimes you have to take risks like that, especially when you’re struggling.

And I suspect that right there you see a big difference between a team like Houston and the Orioles. Part of the mentality of not sending the runner there was the hope that Machado might smack his third double of the game and tie it up with one swing. Had that been a small ball team like Houston hitting in that exact situation, they probably would have tagged the runner up. Because in small ball you take what the defense gives you.

Believe me folks, my personal strategy about baseball is that power rules the roost. But I do think the O’s made a mistake in not at least trying to send Kim on that play. I thought the ball was deep enough to where it was a decent bet that he would have scored. But hindsight is always 20/20.

The series continues tonight at Minute Maid Park. Wade Miley gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Houston’s Dallas Keuchel (who will be fresh off the DL). Game time is set for 7:15 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Kevin Gausman gives up five-run lead

The Baltimore Orioles had a five-run lead in the fourth yesterday, and Kevin Gausman gave it back in one fatal swoop. But please folks, let’s not blame one player or one thing for yesterday’s loss, or for the Orioles being swept over the weekend in Kansas City. Every game’s a team effort, one way or the other. You rise and fall as a team.

Gausman had a tough day however, and was unable to make it out of the fourth inning – despite being gifted a big lead. Gausman’s line: 3.1 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 2 BB, 3 K. Kansas City also used several epic-type at-bats which drove Gausman’s pitch count up. As the Orioles found out in the 2014 ALCS, Kansas City’s a pesky team that in essence forces you to play their game.

In order to give back a five-run lead, you have to have one in the first place. And the Orioles built that five-run lead off of a Chris Davis solo homer in the second. The Birds also got a two-RBI double from Flaherty in the fourth, followed by a two-run homer by Joseph (who quietly had a great series in Kansas City). Things seemed to be falling right into place…

…but part of Kansas City’s game is that they’re fearless. And whereas the Orioles look for the big inning, they’re fine with keeping things small. Because in their minds, sometimes small things can turn into big things. And they did, in this case.

They got an RBI-single from Butera and Escobar in the last of the fourth. Incidentally, the inning began with a walk. Again, power-hitting teams like the Orioles see that as one mere base runner, Kansas City sees it as a potential run. Later in the inning Moustakas came up with two runners on, and with one swing of the bat the game was tied after his three-run homer.

One inning later, Kansas City took the lead and wasn’t about to give it back. And it happened in the most shocking of ways: a Machado error. Machado had a potential play at third on Escobar’s sac bunt, however inexplicably he threw the ball to second base. The problem was that nobody was covering second; so it went as an error which gave Kansas City a 6-5 lead. That lead almost immediately went up to 7-5 on Moustakas’ RBI-ground out, and an inning later they opened it up to 8-5 on a Soler home run.

But the Orioles weren’t going down without a fight, even still. Davis’ RBI-single in the seventh drew the Birds to within 8-6, and Rickard would ground into a force out which scored a run and brought them to within 8-7. So the O’s never saw themselves as out of it, although Kansas City’s Butera would smack a solo shot in the last of the seventh. The O’s brought the go-ahead run onto the base paths in the ninth, and Joseph’s RBI-double brought them to within 9-8. However the rest of the runners died on base, and the Birds fell once again.

This was a strange game, and a strange series. Really funny things happen when the Orioles go to Kansas City. The Kansas City players seemingly become superhuman, and make amazing catches in the field no matter how hard the Orioles hit the ball. Then they find themselves getting on base via bloopers and softly-hit singles.

In one instance, the Kansas City pitcher sprinted off the mound and managed to catch a foul pop near the third base dugout to end a threat. How often does that happen? There’s something about the Orioles that brings that type of effort out in Kansas City, but it’s unclear why that is.

The Oriole bullpen took a bit of a beating this past weekend, however today is also the first day off that the team will have had since April 27th (not counting the rainout in Washington). So it’s fair to say that there are some tired arms out there. This day off (in Detroit) will do the bullpen, and the entire team a lot of good.

The main story of the game is probably Gausman losing the lead. However keep in mind that this was a one-run game. If not for the Machado error, this game is tied (all things being equal). While one might argue that error cost the O’s the game, you can accept that from someone like Machado; he’s going to win you more games than he’ll lose.

Again, the off day today will do a lot of people some good. Some of that is physical, but a lot more mental. Often times teams find themselves with a day off after dramatic series’ in which they’d just as soon as keep their momentum going. In this case, the hope from the Orioles’ perspective is that the day off will cleanse their collective souls.

Baltimore Orioles: Kevin Gausman stellar in Beltway victory

Game one of the Battle of the Beltways went to the Baltimore Orioles last night, in a game that featured about as solid an outing by Kevin Gausman as you’re going to see. Gausman’s line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 6 K. Gausman had retired Washington in order in the first inning before many of the fans had even settled in. As you may recall, Gausman of course is coming off his first career ejection last last week in Boston. If you’re going to bounce back from that, this is how to do it.

The big storyline coming into the game of course was Washington catcher Matt Wieters returning to his old stomping grounds at Camden Yards. When he came up to bat for the first time, the Camden faithful didn’t let him down. Wieters received a “Standing O,” to which he waved and gestured to the crowd in thanks. That moment was well deserved by Wieters, and well done by everyone all around.

Oriole bats also got off to a hot start, with three home runs in the last of the first inning. Joey Rickard led off with a solo shot, which was followed later in the inning by an additional solo homer by Mark Trumbo. But you really knew that the Orioles were in business when Trey Mancini smacked a two-run shot that was about as deep as any home run I’ve seen at Camden Yards, giving the O’s a 4-0 lead after one.

Caleb Joseph also had a hot game, turning in four hits for the first time in his career. One of those was an RBI-single in the fourth inning, giving the O’s a 5-0 lead. Later in that inning Joey Rickard would reach on a throwing error which allowed an additional run to score, and the Birds opened up a 6-0 lead.

But this is the Battle of the Beltways; it’s never easy. Washington would get an RBI-double by Taylor in the fifth, and an RBI-single by Harper in the sixth. Harper would also smack a solo home run in the eighth to cut the Orioles’ lead to 6-3. No harm, no foul – right?

Yes and no. Washington quickly put a couple of runners on base in the ninth against Brach, bringing none other than Matt Wieters to the plate representing the tying run. And Wieters almost haunted his old team. He doubled to center field (and was lifted for a pinch-runner), however the runners didn’t get a good read on the ball. Only one run was able to score, leaving Washington with the go-ahead run coming to the plate and one out.

That brought Goodwin to the plate as a pinch hitter, and he swung at the first pitch – rolling it over to first base. After Chris Davis fielded the ball and stepped on first, he realized that the runner at second was off the bag. First the Orioles had him in a rundown, and it was then continued with the runner at third who had tried to get home during the rundown, and who was eventually tagged out to end the game.

The Orioles did get a bit fortunate there, because as I tweeted out after the game, that was one of the worst executed rundowns I’ve ever seen from an offensive standpoint. I suspect what happened was that the runner at second base missed a sign, and thought he was supposed to run on contact. Maybe he was for all I know. But either way, from Washington’s standpoint it’s an unfortunate way to end a game in a loss. But the Orioles will take it.

The series at Camden Yards (as well as the homestand) concludes tonight. Ubaldo Jimenez will be on the mound for the Orioles. He’ll be opposed by Washington’s Max Scherzer. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.