Myriad O's Thoughts: Gausman's return; Wieters' stock rising; rotation shuffle -
Dan Connolly

Myriad O’s Thoughts: Gausman’s return; Wieters’ stock rising; rotation shuffle

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

Perhaps it was too much to ask Orioles’ right-hander Kevin Gausman to deliver a dominating performance Tuesday night in the club’s 5-1 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.

He hadn’t pitched in more than a week, having his start pushed back from Sunday to Tuesday due to intercostal muscle discomfort.

Gausman is still only 25 and has now passed the 180-inning mark this season (majors and minors), by far the most innings he’s logged in his career.

And his assignment Tuesday was to face the Blue Jays in Toronto with the Orioles’ chances of claiming the top Wild Card spot at stake.

That’s a whole lot to handle, and, frankly, Gausman, given the circumstances, was OK. He gave up two homers and five total runs (four earned) in six innings pitched. He yielded seven hits, two walks and struck out five.

It certainly wasn’t what Gausman wanted, but it might have been solid enough if the Orioles’ swing-and-miss offense hadn’t missed so much (Blue Jays’ starter Aaron Sanchez fanned 10 in six innings; the team struck out a total of 13 times).

Gausman entered Tuesday with a spotty track record at Rogers Centre. In seven previous games (four starts), he was 0-2 with a 5.48 ERA, allowing 14 earned runs on 28 hits, nine walks and five homers in 23 innings.

Those numbers, of course, are skewed by his previous start, when he allowed six runs in three innings in a loss July 29. In that game, he allowed three solo homers to the first five batters he faced.

So Tuesday’s outing was better. He only allowed one home run in the first, a two-run shot by Josh Donaldson before he recorded an out. Gausman got into a better rhythm after that, but it was too late.

The Blue Jays can hit – they’ve smashed 29 homers in their last 17 games.

And we all know what happens when the Orioles don’t homer in bunches.

That happened again Tuesday.

Will Ramos’ injury affect Wieters’ market?

There was rough news out of the Nation’s Capital on Tuesday that Washington Nationals’ All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos has torn the ACL in his right knee and will have surgery.

The 29-year-old Ramos is an adept defender who was having a tremendous year with the bat, a .307 average, .356 on-base percentage and 22 homers. He’ll miss the rest of the season and the postseason. No set timetable has been set for his return next year, partially because he had surgery on the same ligament back in 2012, so the rehab and recovery could be tricky.

So how does this affect the Orioles?

Well, Ramos was a free agent at season’s end and was considered the best available catcher on the market. The second best? The Orioles’ Matt Wieters, who hit .240 with 15 homers in his first 118 games this season.

The dropoff after Wieters is pretty significant among free agent catchers who don’t have contract options for 2017. Houston’s Jason Castro, who is hitting .211 this year, and former Oriole Nick Hundley, who was limited by injury, are arguably the next best options.

Wieters needed to prove he was healthy this year, and he has done that. And though his offensive numbers and defensive prowess have slipped some after missing parts of two seasons due to elbow surgery, he is clearly still a coveted option in a weak market that just became weaker.

Due to Ramos’ size – listed as 6-foot-1, 251 pounds – and injury history, there was some concern whether he would be a good investment for a long-term deal. This news makes that potential investment even riskier.

There have been similar questions about Wieters, simply because catcher is such a grueling position and he has caught more than 800 games in the past eight seasons. There is also concern that his bat won’t play elsewhere if Wieters can’t catch 120 gamers per season in the future.

Regardless, there are plenty of clubs out there that could use catching help – Atlanta, New York Mets, Houston and maybe the Nationals, to name a few – and Wieters is now positioned to be their No. 1 option. And I don’t see the Orioles winning a bidding war for Wieters despite what his leadership capabilities and solid all-around play has meant to the club over the years.

So it’s a major gut punch for Ramos and the Nationals that may land a glancing blow up I-95, too.

Interesting pitching decisions in New York

Because they’ve ended the season with a six-man rotation and had an off day Monday, the Orioles have some interesting musical chairs that could be shifted around for the final, three-game series of the regular season at Yankee Stadium.

If the rotation stays on turn, the Orioles would have Yovani Gallardo, Wade Miley and Dylan Bundy pitch from Friday to Sunday.

But Gausman, who has excelled against the Yankees in his career (5-3, 1.87 ERA), would be on regular rest for the Sunday season finale, which could end up as a ‘win-and-you’re-in’ for the playoffs.

Miley has left the team for paternity leave to be with his wife, who gave birth to their first child. He’s expected back later this week and so he could pitch Friday or Saturday. He’s been excellent in his last two starts (one run in 12 2/3 innings) but has never beaten the Yankees in six starts and has a 4.76 ERA in three games in the Bronx.

Gallardo has also struggled against the Yankees and specifically at Yankee Stadium, where he is 1-2 with an 8.16 ERA in three starts.

Bundy allowed four runs in a five-inning outing in his lone start in New York, and he has now pitched more innings this season than in any other in his pro career. But I’d be surprised if he didn’t get the ball one more time if the postseason is on the line – given that he was solid in his last start and the Orioles need to put their best team out there during crunch time.

Now, if the Orioles are out of contention or have clinched a spot by this weekend, then Gausman wouldn’t go Sunday and it’s possible the Orioles wouldn’t pitch Bundy either.

But I think this thing is going down to the wire.



  1. Boog Robinson Robinson

    September 28, 2016 at 8:09 am


    Frustrated with Jones and his apparent lack of the clutch gene. Frustrated with Davis … but then again .. when haven’t we been. Frustrated with Schoop swinging at every pitch he sees up in his eyes or down at the shoelaces. But most of all over this past month, I think I’m getting frustrated with Buck and his more-than-curious lineups!

    OK, Bourn was 2 for 4 last night, but what in the world does Showalter have against Hyun Soo? Couldn’t we fit both these guys in the lineup? Right handed pitcher, and Kim is buried on the bench … AGAIN (said in my best Forrest Gump voice). Hey Buck, he’s not called the hitting machine for nuthin’!

    And where in the world has Flaherty been? Considering Schoop’s ongoing slump and apparent malaise, why in the world doesn’t Flaherty get a start or two? Didn’t he fill in decently enough a couple of years ago before Jonathan was in the Bigs and again when Schoop was hurt? Am I the only one that remembers the pop in his bat that he displayed? I always wondered what the guy would do if given some regular at-bats? Maybe he IS a low 200’s hitter and maybe I’m pulling a Roger Clemens and “misremembering”, but Ryan always seemed to deliver in key spots. The boy can pull the ball.

    And so what if pitchers walk Davis once a game … does that warrant him hitting in the 2 hole? What about J.J. in that spot? The guy is on fire, and yet Buck has him at number 9, and the K machine watching strike 3 on the outside corner in front of Manny. Doesn’t make sense to me.

    I don’t know the numbers, but the only player on this team that seems to hit above his average with men on base is Wieters, and yet he’s behind Schoop and the Bull. Who is he supposed to drive in? Matt has the clutch gene, why not move him up in the lineup along with JJ and Manny in front of him and see what happens?

    OK…Showalter is a genius, and I’m the guy old fat guy “banging on my keyboard” after yet another frustrating late season game. But c’mon Buck … the Hitting Machine is on the bench, “Crush Mendoza” is in the 2 hole, Schoop is flailing away at butterflys in the 6 spot, and your hottest hitter is turning over the lineup.

    I may not know baseball like Buck, but at this point, I think I’d kick his a$$ in a game of Strat-O-Matic!

    Frustratedly yours,
    Boog Robinson Robinson

    • Bancells Moustache

      September 28, 2016 at 8:27 am

      Oh dear. You know things are getting bad when even Boog is running for the parachutes…

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        September 28, 2016 at 9:10 am

        I’m having a weak moment here …..

    • Dan Connolly

      September 28, 2016 at 9:14 am

      This is one of these rants where I just need to get away and admire from afar. But I will say one thing about the Kim decision. One of Buck’s favorite deciding factors is how a player or pitcher does in a given ballpark. Bourn’s numbers are good in Rogers Centre (same w Davis) and so he was giving Bourn the nod. Curious but not unexplainable. As for why Flaherty hasn’t spelled the slumping Schoop at least once against a right-hander recently. I dunno.

  2. 5brooks5

    September 28, 2016 at 9:30 am

    AMEN! Boog!! And Dan,it’s like Bob from Parkville, you are just better off letting the man finish his rant. Boy I feel better!

  3. Bancells Moustache

    September 28, 2016 at 9:31 am

    I know I mentioned the deflating effect of the O’s disappearance in opening games of “the biggest series of the year” before. Behold the man…

    I fear I am starting to become the resident Doomsayer/Monster-Shouter, but I can’t help it. My expectation is a World Series, as should be every other fans, and I don’t see it happening. Even if they do shake this malaise and get into the Wild Card,
    are they getting past Toronto or Boston? Show me a scenario where the Cubs don’t sweep them in 4. I’m afraid it’s back to the drawing board this year, as sour as that may sit on the tongue.

    One thing I believe needs addressing in the offseason is veteran leadership. They need to bring in somebody who has been to the top of the mountain. That might sound strange considering the Orioles roster, but who among them has won anything? All due respect to Jones, Hardy, Weiters etc, all great players mind you, but the proof is in the pudding. This team wilted against New York in ’12, vanished against KC in ’14, and appears to be expiring quietly in their beds yet again this year. The talent is there. When Alvarez and Trumbo are in the lineup, 7 out of 9 guys are current or former All Stars. Yet they don’t appear ready or capable of carrying the ball across the goal line. They need someone there who knows what it takes, as it appears no one currently in the building does. Duquette has no rings. Nor does Showalter, Jones, O’Day, Hardy, Weiters, or even Peter Angelos himself. Hell, the most accomplished resume in the entire organization belongs to the MASN color commentator! That’s not good. I’m not saying fire Buck to bring in Joe Torre or coax Jeter out of retirement, but why else do you think grey-bearded 2013 Champion David Ross is in Chicago?

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      September 28, 2016 at 10:00 am

      Mr. Moustache, I can only wish I were as eloquent and level headed as you or Mr. Connolly are. Well said. You thoughts on leadership are eye opening and thought provoking for me. But who in the heck is David Ross?

      • Bancells Moustache

        September 28, 2016 at 10:07 am

        He is Chicago’s backup catcher who looks like he is about 50 years old who all of the younger Cubbies have taken to, even having batting practice t shirts made up honoring “Grandpa Rossy”. He also won the World Series with Boston in 2013 and is there for that specific reason. Theo Epstein ain’t no fool…

  4. Boog Robinson Robinson

    September 28, 2016 at 9:32 am

    And another thing … am I the only one to have noticed the relevance of the number FIVE over the past week or so? Is FIVE the O’s black-magic number? Seems that everybody that scores exactly FIVE runs against them seems to shut the O’s down. Boston swept us four straight scoring FIVE runs each game. Is the same thing about to happen north of the border? We’re just lucky the Diamondbacks can’t hit.

    How ironic that’s it’s the greatest Oriole Of All Time’s number that seems to be biting us in the derrière this past week. Coincidence? I think not. It’s bad Juju, and it seems baseball gods have smitten and cursed us! Are we to be the Red Sox of this 21st century?

    Peronally, I think it all goes back to that stupid, stupid Crush Davis and his Dog Samson Superhero Bobblehead. Bad idea all around. SUPERHEROS DON’T HIT .200 !! (maybe Samson should be batting 2nd in the lineup instead of Crush?) BAD JUJU I TELL YOU!! Who’s with me and is up for an old fashion tar and feathering/lynching of the entire O’s PR staff? Arrrrrrrghhhhhh!!!!!

    • Bancells Moustache

      September 28, 2016 at 9:53 am

      Dammit Orioles, look what you did! You’ve managed to take Boog’s massive amount of optimism and turn him into that pissed off talking baseball on the Geico commercials. No wonder nobody shows up to the games anymore!

    • bv22

      September 29, 2016 at 5:05 pm

      And the O’s won last night 3-2; 3 + 2 = 5…..eerie.

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