Kevin Gausman did everything he could to hopefully extend the summer one more day for the Baltimore Orioles. At the very least to send the Birds and the fans into the off season on the heels of a win. But it wasn’t meant to be. Gausman’s line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 9 K.
As I said, Gausman did everything that he could in this game. This was the line and the effort that I suspect the Orioles wanted to see out of Gausman on Opening Day back in April as opposed to yesterday in a meaningless game on the final day of the season. Nevertheless, he finished his season on a personal high note. And that might pay dividends going into next year.
Perhaps the most noteworthy part of Gausman’s start is that he didn’t suffer from the epidemic of going through the order once and falling apart. He was able to disguise his pitches and kept Tampa hitters off kilter for the most part. Casali’s solo homer in the fifth inning was the only run he surrendered.
And the fact is that when the bats are silent, that one run is all that’s necessary. Another hot topic this off season will be how it’s possible that great big league hitters can all go cold at the same time. And it happened at several points along the way this year. And it’s as much of a reason as to why the Orioles are now cleaning out their lockers as opposed to preparing for the post season as anything else.
After Gausman departed, Tampa really got to work. Longoria smacked an RBI-double in the eighth, followed by an RBI-single by Morrison. Later in the inning Ploufe walked with the bases loaded, followed by another bases loaded walk – this one to Casali. At the end of the day when the smoke cleared Tampa led 6-0.
And that was the final. Not just the final for the game, but the final impression of the 2017 Orioles. Kind of ironic that the big strength of this team was supposed to be the bullpen, but yet in their penultimate game they got a strong outing from a starter and the bullpen couldn’t get the job done. There’s a lot that derailed this team in 2017, not all of which was in their control. And as time goes on we’ll go over all of it until we find ourselves back in Sarasota for spring training.
And that’s all she wrote! Some seasons are good, and some lackluster such as this one. But one way or the other we made it through 162 games and we’ve now come to the end of the line. But stay with me here at THE ORANGE CRUSH, as we’ll have daily coverage of the Orioles throughout the off season.
And thanks goes out to you the fans for reading. Whether you cheered or boo’d the team, the passion of the Orioles fans is second to none. You care about your team, and you want them to succeed. As for me, I always take a few days to “digest’ the season before writing a formal season recap. But you can expect that this week.
Normally I close my game recaps by setting up the next day’s game. But this was the end of line, so there is no next day’s game. My next game recap will be in February after Opening Day of spring training. So in lieu of the pitching match up, I’ll just say that pitchers and catchers report in less than six months. And hope springs eternal!
Kevin Gausman of the Baltimore Orioles struggled last night, in what could be his final start of the season in Pittsburgh. Gausman’s line: 4.0 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 2 BB, 5 K. The Orioles have another off day (tomorrow) this week, meaning that in theory Gausman wouldn’t need to start again Sunday in Tampa. However if I were manager Buck Showalter I’d send Gausman out there again to give him another shot at finishing the season strong.
Gausman allowed two runs in the last of the first on two consecutive RBI-doubles. One of those came off the bat of McCutchen, who ended up with eight RBI on the night overall. It’s tough to win when one guy drives in eight runs. However that sequence got started as Gausman made an errant throw on a pickoff attempt at first base. Gausman was charged with the error, but it looked like Chris Davis just whiffed on the throw when he tried to catch it.
McCutchen’s grand slam in the last of the second broke the game wide open, giving Pittsburgh a 6-0 lead. Pittsburgh would also pick up a run on a fielder’s choice in the fifth, although Chris Davis would smack his 26th homer of the year in the sixth to cut the lead to 7-1. But that’s as close as the Orioles got, as McCutchen smoked another homer over the wall in the seventh. This one of the three-run variety.
Buck Showlater said after the game that Gausman’s issues were command-related. And in fact, he was unable to put hitters away as he missed a lot of spots (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):
I hate to keep … it’s a command issue. You’re trying to go down and away and you throw it middle middle, you’re going to pay a price to hitters at this level. Kevin’s shown that he’s very capable of pitching very solidly at this level. I’ve said many times, some of the best development of players happens in the off-season. You step back and you go, ‘OK, here’s reality.’ Because sometimes at this time of year reality doesn’t quite hit you like it will in about a month.
The Orioles will complete this short series in Pittsburgh this evening at PNC Park. Gabriel Ynoa gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Pittsburgh’s Chas Kohl. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.
The Baltimore Orioles head to Pittsburgh this evening to open up a two-game series. It’s actually a return engagement in a sense, as the two teams played a two-game set back in June at Camden Yards. The wonders of interleague play I suppose. I’m actually a proponent of interleague play, but I do think that they should look at how they do it.
The Orioles were given the toughest schedule in baseball this season. One of the factors in that designation was the fact that they had two games in the final week of the season in a National League ballpark. However the fact is that someone has to do it, given the fact that the league has an interleague game on every day of the season.
Obviously the point was that if the Orioles were in a playoff race, is it exactly fair to them to have to play two games in the final week where they surrender their DH and the pitchers hit? The fact is that the Birds are now eliminated from the race, however you get the point. But again, someone has to do it.
Personally I liked the way that they did interleague play prior to the changes that were made a few seasons ago. The games kind of came in blocks, with a large chunk of interleague games surrounding Memorial Day, and another one later in June. And I felt that kind of localized teams having to prepare for these games – meaning only in certain parts of the season as opposed to anytime.
If the O’s were still in contention, I suspect we would have heard a lot about that this week given that they’re in interleague play. It’s not the first time they’ve had a strange September schedule. In 2015 they had a similar situation, with a three-game set in Washington the third week of September. Going all the way back to 2012, they had a major road trip to the west coast in the middle of September as they were gearing up for the playoffs. You take the schedule as it comes, I suppose. But maybe while you don’t look for breaks per se, you do look not to be put at a disadvantage either.
Kevin Gausman did all that he could to get the Baltimore Orioles a win last night. The only thing further he could have done was pick up a bat and try to plate runners himself. Gausman retired the first 14 Boston hitters in the game, flirting with perfection. Gausman’s line: 8.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K.
Unfortunately for Gausman the Birds just couldn’t muster any runs offensively. While many folks want to point to the offense being in a funk, keep in mind that on Monday they put up eight runs. This game was just a classic pitcher’s duel in a sense. And to be honest, that’s a good thing to see every now and again in MLB.
The O’s had what they thought was a run in the last of the third. With Machado on second Schoop singled to left field. Machado was waved home, and was thrown out at the plate. Speaking for myself, I wouldn’t have sent the runner. One could already see that runs were going to be at a premium, and the last thing you want to do is take a risk. But it took a perfect play to nail Machado at home plate, and sure enough Boston executed that.
One inning later Davis led off with what looked to be a solo homer which would have given the Orioles a 1-0 lead. However Boston centerfielder Bradley lept at the wall and brought the ball back into the ballpark. Even with all of the pitching falling into place, Boston was determined that it just wasn’t going to be the Orioles’ night.
As the game went to extra innings, Boston got an infield hit and two walks to load the bases in the 11th. However Oriole reliever Brad Brach uncorked a wild pitch, allowing the lone run of the night to score. And the Orioles fell 1-0.
Regarding those two walks, many of the pitches in that sequence were very borderline and thus very close. All of them went Boston’s way. That’s not a crutch by which the Orioles can stand on. However Boston didn’t really earn this win – the Orioles gave it to them with the wild pitch. And when you do that, the breaks often don’t go your way. But also keep in mind that when you get people on base, anything’s liable to happen. All it takes is one mistake – and it was the Orioles who made that one mistake last night.
The Birds will try to salvage one game in this series tonight at Camden Yards. Wade Miley gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s Chris Sale. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.
Kevin Gausman started what the Baltimore Orioles hope is a long winning streak with his gem last night in Toronto. Gausman’s line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 K. Gausman mesmerized Toronto hitters all night long. And for the most part, none of them ever really stood a chance.
This was the Kevin Gausman that the Orioles wanted to see for the entire season. 2017 has really been a tale of two years for Gausman in a way, as he struggled in the first half of the year. But he’s really stepped it up in the second half, and the Birds have really benefited from his quality starts. And it really makes you wonder if the O’s would be fighting for their playoff lives as much as they are right now if Gausman had been this strong all season.
However Oriole bats remained quiet. And that’s fine when you have a pitcher who was as dominant as Gausman was last night. But in general, it’s a concern moving forward. The O’s scored two runs in the entire game – in the first inning. Generally two early runs don’t stand up for an entire game like that, but in this case they did. The two runs were also unearned. But the fact is that they did score those two runs, and Toronto only netted one.
Beckham reached base to lead off the game off of an E5. Jones later smacked an RBI-double, followed by an RBI-triple by Mancini. And there are your two runs – both unearned. Toronto would cut the lead in half in the third on Urena’s RBI-double.
The O’s had other chances in this game, such as the fourth inning when they loaded the bases with nobody out. Yet they let Toronto off the hook. And I thought for sure that would come back to haunt them, even in the last of that fourth inning when Toronto had some traffic on the base paths. But Toronto returned the favor, letting the O’s off the hook.
But the story of the night was Gausman’s effort, and he gave credit to good scouting after the game in helping him along to win this game in the manner that he did (quote courtesy of Steve Melewski, MASNsports):
Me and Caleb, we had a really good scouting report on these guys and I’ve had some good games against them this year, so it was more about me pitching toward my strengths and not necessarily their weaknesses. And that’s something I’ve really been focusing on doing more in the second half. Stroman was pitching today, so I know runs would be at a premium. Once we scored those two runs, I told myself, ‘Hey those are your runs, that’s all you’re going to get today,’ and you know, unfortunately, that’s the way it was. But luckily I was able to pound the strike zone and keep mixing my pitches and keep them off-balance.
Kevin Gausman had a tough time getting anything going for the Baltimore Orioles yesterday as they fell big in the series finale with New York, 9-1. Gausman’s line: 3.0 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 3 BB, 4 K. That’s not going to get the job done, however New York was hitting everything that anybody was throwing yesterday – not just Gausman’s stuff.
Gausman started the game off with a walk of Gardner, who promptly stole second and was doubled home. Judge came up later in the inning and smacked a two-run homer, and the O’s trailed 3-0. Gausman pitched Judge right down the middle, which resulted in the home run. Mind you however, Judge has struggled mightily since the all-star break. So it wasn’t necessarily a bad idea to pitch-to-contact against him given the fact that he’s been recording outs. He just picked yesterday to try to break out.
After New York put two more on the board in the third, Gausman was finally lifted after that inning. Mike Wright came in for the fourth, and promptly gave up another two-run homer. As I said, New York was hitting everything they could. When the smoke cleared the Birds fell by the aforementioned score of 9-1. In this case, it began and ended with starting pitching, although the offense only putting up one run didn’t help.
The Orioles now embark on a road trip that will take them through Cleveland, Toronto, and New York. So that’s basically the season right there. The Orioles sit two games out of the final wild card spot, and one game behind Anaheim. But they have a tall task this weekend with a Cleveland team that’s basically the hottest in the league. Incidentally, this weekend’s series will also feature the Orioles in the national spotlight, as Sunday’s game is in prime time on Sunday Night Baseball.
After the game Buck Showalter mentioned how it’s important in any game to get off to a good start. Gausman was unable to do that, which added to why it didn’t work out for him and the Birds yesterday (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):
The first at-bat of the game, that’s the difference between the major leagues and Triple-A is you make really good pitches and they tip them off and then you get two or three, in his case four pitches that could have been strikes. I thought Kevin’s stuff was pretty good. He struck out three guys in the first inning. It wasn’t his day.
The Baltimore Orioles and Kevin Gausman are in the spot in which they find themselves due to a lackluster May and June. Some might not even call it lackluster; they’d say the O’s flat out were poor. But had the O’s won more games in those months, odds are they’d be in the playoffs right now if the season ended today.
But mind you that three games is all but meaningless in the grand scheme of things. But are the Orioles in the midst of coming on when it counts the most? They won a hard-fought game on Wednesday against Oakland, they bludgeoned Boston on Friday night, and they really took it to the same Boston team yesterday. (And had that Oakland game been back in May or June, odds are the O’s would have lost simply by default.) So are these three games the beginning of something memorable? We don’t know right now. However if the O’s are able to muscle into the post season, you might look back at this point in the schedule.
Gausman dominated the Boston lineup yesterday, keeping them off the board and for the most part off the base paths. Gausman’s line: 7.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K. Again mark this down in your minds; this was the Orioles’ third consecutive quality start. And it begins and ends with starting pitching.
The story of the game was in essence the second inning. Mark Trumbo and Craig Gentry got the Orioles on the board with RBI-singles to start things off. However the big blast came off the bat of Tim Beckham, who smacked a three-run homer and gave the Birds a 5-0 lead.
And if you want to go back even further, perhaps Beckham supplied the Birds with a shot in the arm also. He’s streamlined the offense because now they have a bona fide lead off man at the top of the order. He’s also incredibly fast, which makes the offense even better. And since he’s been here, he’s done nothing but get on base.
After that second inning Boston seemed to settle down a bit. However the Orioles had already done their damage. And Gausman was dealing, which made it tough for Boston to come back. And the fact is that they went away with nary a whimper. Gausman and the bullpen were that good.
Just for good measure, the O’s got a solo homer by Jonathan Schoop in the eighth, and another RBI-single by Trumbo in the ninth. While Boston mustered no offense in this game, it never hurts to have a few insurance runs. Again, does this mean that the O’s are on the way for a historic run to the post season as we move into the final five weeks of the season? No. But it doesn’t mean that they aren’t on their way towards that also. This is just a point in the season to which one might look back if they make a run.