On Monday, Kevin Gausman was the Gausman we, and he, expect to see - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Dan Connolly

On Monday, Kevin Gausman was the Gausman we, and he, expect to see

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

This was the Kevin Gausman that everyone has been expecting this season.

This was the Kevin Gausman that Kevin Gausman was expecting, too.

“Top to bottom with the lineup, it’s tough and I knew I was really going to have to pitch tonight,” Gausman said. “I pitched better today than I have this whole season.”

On Monday night, the Orioles’ right-hander delivered – without a doubt – his best performance of 2017 in a 6-4 victory over the Washington Nationals.

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He allowed two runs on five hits and a walk while striking out a season-high eight batters in a season-long seven innings. He threw 116 pitches – 77 strikes – mixing in a killer split-fingered fastball with several other sharp pitches. Orioles manager Buck Showalter sent him back to the mound for the seventh even though Gausman already had thrown 105 pitches. He was that good.

“Really good command of the fastball tonight,” Showalter said. “Really elevated when he needed to and wanted to. That’s a hard lineup to go through and that was impressive.”

Gausman was great from the start, retiring the first 10 batters he faced before a one-out single in the fourth by Washington’s Jayson Werth.

The Orioles’ Opening Day starter, Gausman entered the night 1-3 with an unsightly 7.55 ERA. He had lost his last three decisions, including Wednesday in Boston when he was ejected in the second inning after an errant curveball plunked Xander Bogaerts.

He was irate that he was tossed in that game – home plate umpire Sam Holbrook clearly over-reacted while guarding against a potential continuation of a beanball war between the two sides – and he seemed to channel that energy Monday.

“Really, the last start I was motivated, too. Felt like my stuff has been good, I’ve just been putting too many guys on base,” he said. “So, that was kind of one thing going into tonight that I wanted to do was pound the strike zone and get ahead of these guys. Hopefully, that gives me a little extra confidence going into the next one.”

The Orioles are now 21-10, somehow, without Gausman being the pitcher he can be. We saw that potential for most of the 2016 second half. We saw it Monday night.

And if that continues, well, so should the Orioles’ strong start of this year.

12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. John in Cincy

    May 9, 2017 at 12:28 am

    Considering Gausman’ poor start of the season & Tillman being on the DL until Sunday, it feels like the Orioles just got back two front line members if the rotation back cor consecutive games, after being MIA, and this development could loom large going forward for the O’s.

  2. Boog Robinson Robinson

    May 9, 2017 at 7:10 am

    He may yet finish 2nd in the Cy Young vote !!

  3. Osfan73

    May 9, 2017 at 7:51 am

    This is the Kevin Gausman i’ve been waiting to see.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 9, 2017 at 10:38 am

      He feels the same way.

  4. 5brooks5

    May 9, 2017 at 8:33 am

    It”s all about the bass, I mean fastball command,great to see!

    • Dan Connolly

      May 9, 2017 at 10:39 am

      Very true. And he said he was allowing the splitter to do its stuff without aiming it. And he was getting a lot of swings and misses.

  5. Bancells Moustache

    May 9, 2017 at 9:38 am

    It’s great to see Kevbaldo Gausmenez getting it together. If he can just remain consistent and stop bouncing between great and horrendous, I’ll feel less embarrassed about my preseason bellowing about his being a Cy Young finalist this year (to be fair, it looks like that guy IS on the team, its just not who I thought it would be).

    Related note; with this team hitting like the Bad News Bears and still being on top of the AL East, at what point do we start to tip the caps to Roger McDowell? Of course it’s still early, and I’ve never been a big believer in the overall impact of coaches at the professional level, but you can’t deny the pitching staff’s mojo, Everyone has claimed the Orioles starting pitching sucks for basically the entire century and now it’s become the rock on which the black and orange church is built. I’d show Mills some love as well, but the ‘Pen has been noticeably shaky, nearly coughing it up again last night.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      May 9, 2017 at 10:07 am

      Have you noticed that his inconsistency coincided with the timing of his decision to forgo both the mouthpiece and sport eyeglassess?

      • Osfan73

        May 9, 2017 at 10:18 am

        Gausman needs to bring back that Rick Vaughn from Major League look with those glasses…..loved it!

    • Dan Connolly

      May 9, 2017 at 10:43 am

      I think coaches can have an effect — positively and negatively — but ultimately it comes down to talent and personnel. Bundy and Miley are exceeding expectations, but both had it in them. As for the guys from Triple-A, yeah, I have no explanation there.

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