June 13, 2014

Game 65: Gausman Earns Second Win

I was at a concert last night and immediately turned on the finals when I got home so I don't have too much to say about last night's game.  It was excellent, by the way, The Features and Fitz & the Tantrums played a free show in Albany.  Highly recommend seeing each band if you get the chance, especially if you like alternative music. Anyways...from the consensus on social media, Kevin Gausman was phenomenal once again, earning his second win of the season in impressive fashion.  One of the biggest series of the early season kicked off against the Blue Jays Thursday night and the Orioles were up for the task.  The pitching staff, which only allowed 1 run to Red Sox last series continued their success although allowing an unprecedented 2 RUNS! Kidding of course.

O's fans caught yet another glimpse of future rotation member Kevin Gausman.  The former number one pick out of LSU pitched a great game again in his many weeks since being recalled from Norfolk.  His opponent, Mark Buehrle is one of the hottest pitchers in baseball, although he recorded his second loss of the season last start against the Cardinals. In addition, Toronto is touted for having one of the best offenses in baseball, which forced the Orioles pitching staff to be razor sharp and needed to put up runs early in the game.  They did both of these things, as Delmon Young launched a two-run homer in the first inning to plate Nick Markakis, who once again led off the game with a base hit.  It's such a luxury to have Markakis hitting leadoff as he's hitting over .400 when he leads off the game for the Orioles. With an early lead, Gausman found his groove early, and navigated through the first four innings unscathed.  The second inning, the O's added to their lead as Caleb Joseph singled home Machado after he led off the inning with a double and Schoop moved him over to third.  The thing I like most about the Orioles offense is the little contributions from an array of players each night.  With so much fire power throughout the order, a middle of the order hitter with an "O-fer" can be picked up by other guys in the lineup.  Guys like Delmon Young, Caleb Joseph, David Lough and Steve Pearce have propelled the team's offense when the sluggers aren't hitting and it's things like this that will continue to drive the Orioles success.

From that point on, Buehrle was able to settle in and kept the Jays in the game, pitching into the 7th inning.  In the 5th, Gausman got into some trouble allowing a lead off double to Juan Francisco and would eventually score on a Melky Cabrera single to break the shutout. Gausman would toss another scoreless frame in the 6th and left with a 2-run lead for his bullpen to preserve.  His line was impressive yet again, limiting the Jays to 5 hits and allowing 3 walks while striking out three. Gausman has clearly pitched well enough to stay in the rotation but there will be an interesting decision when Miguel Gonzalez is finally able to make his return to Baltimore.  Buck and myself would be pleased to have both, as the manager hadn't ruled out the possibility of using a 6-man rotation for the time being.  Personally, it's not fair for Gonzo to be relegated to the bullpen while Ubaldo Jimenez has been ineffective for the majority of the season.

Anyways, back to the game, where the Orioles would tack on another run to their lead as Nick Markakis doubled home Jonathon Schoop for a much needed insurance run after Matusz pitched a scoreless seventh inning.  Markakis barely missed another home run as he roped a line drive off the top of  the right field wall to easily plate the runner.  Ryan Webb, who's put together a great season so far, filled in for O'Day tonight and surrendered a run to cut the deficit at two but it was the extent of the damage.  After loading the bases with one out in the bottom half of the 8th, Aaron Loup came on to end the threat and the O's called upon Zach Britton to nail down yet another save in his many weeks as a closer. Britton ended the game on 10 pitches, allowing a base hit with one out and getting Darin Mastroianni (Italia) to bounce into the game-ending double play in the next at bat.

For the O's, they were obviously once again able to cut into Toronto's division lead and are now 3.5 games back, along with the Yankees, who took care of Seattle once again.  Cruz, Markakis and Young all recorded 2 hits, as Delmon was placed in the second spot in the lineup to give Steve Pearce the night off. Machado went 1-3 with a double and a run scored while Davis and Jonesy each went 0-4. No complaints from Jones, who's been such a force over these past few weeks and was bound to cool off.  Davis, after ending the Red Sox series with 2 XBH, struggled against the Blue Jay lefties and looks to fare much better against Drew Hutchinson, who silenced the Orioles bats earlier this year.  Ubaldo takes the hill tonight as he looks to shake off the brutal start on Sunday against Oakland.

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