Myriad O's thoughts: Schedule lightens, maybe; Gausman's outing; radio musings - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Dan Connolly

Myriad O’s thoughts: Schedule lightens, maybe; Gausman’s outing; radio musings

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

OK, Orioles fans, your team has made it through the gauntlet.

Barely, terribly, painfully.

But the Orioles finally get somewhat of a break in their schedule — well, as much as you can in the major leagues.

This month, the Orioles had to face all five American League teams that made the postseason in 2017: the Minnesota Twins, Houston Astros, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians.

The Indians left Baltimore on Monday night, winning three of four and dropping the Orioles to an abysmal 6-17 record.

Of those 23 games, the Orioles faced last year’s playoff clubs 17 times. And were 5-12 in those contests.

The tough early schedule is a factor in how bad this team has started. No question.

It’s only one factor, though. These Orioles haven’t hit or played good defense or pitched particularly well, either. Those are more important factors.

Case in point: They are 1-5 in their other six games against teams that didn’t make the playoffs last year: Toronto and Detroit.

Technically speaking, the Orioles’ schedule should get easier starting Tuesday, when the Tampa Bay Rays come to town for a three-game series. They’ll be followed by the Tigers. Then the Orioles head on the road to play at the Los Angeles Angels and Oakland Athletics before coming back home to host the Kansas City Royals, Rays again and the surprising Philadelphia Phillies.

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Of that group, only the Angels were considered particularly formidable coming into the year.

That change in competition is something the Orioles have noticed — but can’t celebrate.

“I think it’d be ignorant to ignore that, but, at the same time, it’s a new year. If we consider ourself a playoff team, then we’ve got to compete with those teams, whether it’s early in the season, late in the season, whenever,” Orioles first baseman Chris Davis said. ” We’ve got to find a way to push a runner across. I hate to try to take anything positive away from a loss, but we’re in these games all the way to the end. We’ve just got to find a way to scratch (out) a few more runs.”

Nothing is easy for the Orioles right now. And that includes the “easy” part of this schedule. The Rays (8-13) are riding a four-game winning streak that included a sweep of the Twins over the weekend.

The Tigers (9-11) have a better record than the Orioles, partially because of that sweep in Detroit last week. The Orioles rarely play well in Oakland and have had one winning record against the Royals in the past five season series.

So, yeah, this upcoming 20-game stretch is, on paper, less treacherous than the 23 the Orioles already experienced.

But, make no mistake, those future opponents are also looking at the upcoming games against the Orioles as ones they should — and need to — win, too.

Gausman’s excellent outing and immaculate inning

I’m not sure which cliché to use to discuss Kevin Gausman’s performance Monday in a 2-1 loss to the Cleveland Indians.

He deserved a better fate.

Or he threw just one bad pitch that cost him.

We’ll go with the latter, since we’re contractually obligated to use the former for Dylan Bundy starts.

But know this, Gausman is continuing to pitch well after his initial outing to begin the year. He allowed four hits, including a two-run homer to Yonder Alonso, in eight innings Monday.

He walked only one and struck out seven batters, including all three in the seventh on nine pitches — completing an immaculate inning.

“I didn’t realize it until I got in the dugout. They were a little more pumped up than they’d normally be,” Gausman said. “Told me I tied Major League history or something. I did it in college once before. But to do it in the big leagues is obviously a little different.”

Radio musings — thoughts on Alex Cobb

In my weekly radio show Monday, my guest was Bill Chastain, the long-time Tampa Bay Rays beat writer for mlb.com. One of the primary reasons I wanted to talk to Chastain was to get his take on Alex Cobb, who had spent his entire pro career with the Rays before signing a four-year, $57 million deal with the Orioles in March.

Chastain said he’s always been impressed with Cobb’s acumen for pitching and that he’s not concerned about Cobb despite the right-hander’s 15.43 ERA through two games. Give it time, Chastain said, and Cobb will be fine. Chastain also discussed the Rays, who have won four straight heading into tonight’s game at Camden Yards that pits Cobb against his old club.

In the second part of my interview with Chastain, we talk about his new biography of Chicago Cubs manager (and former Rays skipper) Joe Maddon. The book, and the interview, are worth checking out.

27 Comments

27 Comments

  1. Mau

    April 24, 2018 at 7:29 am

    There are positives to be found recently. Gausman’s outing last night is surely one. Even Davis is starting to come around. If they could only score runs.

    • Dan Connolly

      April 24, 2018 at 9:46 am

      AND keep the pitching going. Seems like doing both is a riddle.

  2. Dblack2508

    April 24, 2018 at 7:40 am

    Who would even imagine the biggest free agent loss from last season would be Ryan Flaherty..

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      April 24, 2018 at 7:43 am

      I did. Well maybe not THE biggest … but I felt we were going to miss him. I can’t understand why they didn’t make a bigger play for him after Philly cut him loose.

    • Mau

      April 24, 2018 at 8:40 am

      Always liked Flaherty. If he could only hit more consistently. They do sorely miss him right now.

    • JCO

      April 24, 2018 at 9:35 am

      Sign your favorite team is not having a good year:

      People are wistfully missing a guy who hasn’t hit above .217 since 2014.

    • Dan Connolly

      April 24, 2018 at 9:46 am

      Yes, Boog has been imagining this for months.

  3. Boog Robinson Robinson

    April 24, 2018 at 7:43 am

    Is Manny Machado not THE worst base runner in MLB history? He’s certainly the worst I’ve ever witnessed. Not that they are necessary, but I’m wondering if there are any sabermetrics to measure just how utterly stupid this guy is between 1st and home. It’s almost funny. Almost.

    May have cost us a run last night. May have cost us the game. We’ll never know.

    • Dan Connolly

      April 24, 2018 at 9:49 am

      I know Machado has made continually bad reads on the basepaths and last night was Another. But I give him a slight pass on that one. He was trying to make something happen with an eye on scoring from first given how runs were at a premium with Carrasco (anyone right now) on the mound. It was a risk. But it was an aggressive decision and a good play was made.

  4. Osfan73

    April 24, 2018 at 8:26 am

    Gausman looked good last night and did his job….kept the Os in the game. He only gave up 2 runs over 8 innings. This lineup, any major league lineup, should be able to scratch out 3 runs to support that effort. Then again most other lineups are capable of and built to score in multiple ways, the Os sadly are not.

    • Dan Connolly

      April 24, 2018 at 9:50 am

      10 Times in 23 games they have failed to score more than 2. Frightful.

  5. Creatively_19

    April 24, 2018 at 8:49 am

    I agree with Davis – you have to be able to beat last year’s playoff teams to win. If you can’t, well you’re not a playoff team. The O’s are not a playoff team.

  6. garyintheloo

    April 24, 2018 at 9:07 am

    Which comes first for the Orioles? Twenty wins or thirty losses?

    • Dan Connolly

      April 24, 2018 at 9:50 am

      Safe money is on 30

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        April 24, 2018 at 10:10 am

        I’ve got a fake beer that says 20. (it’s easy to play with other peoples fake beers)

    • jkneps63

      April 24, 2018 at 3:29 pm

      Now that the O’s have Jace Peterson, I’d say 20 wins!!!

  7. Orial

    April 24, 2018 at 9:15 am

    The lack of organizational depth is rearing it’s ugly head right now. Number one on Duquette’s replacement’s agenda is to build a minor league system. Wouldn’t it be ironic if that with all the pitching additions/subtractions that Bundy/Gausman are the two best?

    • Dan Connolly

      April 24, 2018 at 9:51 am

      Well, they were the 2 highest picks too.

  8. TxBirdFan

    April 24, 2018 at 9:15 am

    I’m trying to find positives but this team is really miserable. At least the average game time is down! That happens when you can’t hit or score runs. So there’s that…,

    • Dan Connolly

      April 24, 2018 at 9:51 am

      Gets me home a little quicker.

  9. Bancells Moustache

    April 24, 2018 at 9:50 am

    Enough with the naysaying from you people, look at the gains from last night:

    ORIOLES STRIKEOUT PACE: 1669 (237 in 23 games, 10.3043 per game)

    After a brief scare this week, our boys have regained momentum with a muscular 11 whiffs last night. The Orange and Black seem to have regained focus and are chasing down those bums in San Diego, determined to show the left coast who the boss is. Although losing Tim Beckham and his trademark car antenna bat is a blow, it’s inspiring to see role players like Sisco and Valencia shoulder the burden of their fallen comrade.

    • Zoey Dog Says Throw Strikes

      April 24, 2018 at 1:04 pm

      Ok, that was funny.

      Car antenna! Ha!

    • jkneps63

      April 24, 2018 at 3:08 pm

      Bad news for the strikeout record watch, the O’s picked up Jace Peterson and his K ratio may push the O’s Ks per game under 10 if he see a lot of playing time…

      Perhaps Jace will save the Orioles season?

      • Bancells Moustache

        April 24, 2018 at 3:13 pm

        The mere idea that Jace Peterson is a solution to anything tells me the K watch is safe and sound.

        • jkneps63

          April 24, 2018 at 3:28 pm

          Ha! There is noooooooooo way the O’s break the K mark now!

          Jace to the rescue, he is going be Lou Gerhig to Tim Beckham’s Wally Pipp – mark my words!!!

          Gausman needs to give up #34 to Jace!

  10. jkneps63

    April 24, 2018 at 10:04 am

    Gausman’s outing was great – very encouraging! Can it be said the O’s have three solid starters? That would be great news! Would love to see Tanner Scott or Hess or even Bleier given an audition start (apologies to Chris Tillman). Come on Cobb, turn it around tonight and let’s win this series!!!

    Manny’s 2018 OBP is > 0.100 his career average! Love contract years!

    Get well soon Trey!

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