This is what you’ve been waiting for.
This is what Orioles manager Buck Showalter and executive vice president Dan Duquette and the organization’s draft and player development staffs have been waiting for.
Through all the injuries and promotions and demotions, it finally happened Friday and Saturday.
Dylan Bundy, the fourth overall pick in the 2011 draft, and Kevin Gausman, the fourth overall pick in the 2012 draft, won back-to-back starts for the Orioles for the first time. They did it against a Cleveland Indians team that entered Camden Yards on Friday with the best record in the AL.
Don’t think that accomplishment is lost on Gausman and Bundy.
“Yeah, we talked about this when we were playing in Bowie for a short time together,” Gausman said Saturday after he threw seven scoreless innings for the victory. “You know, it’s kind of been a long trek for him. He’s had some things that happen that are kind of out of his control, but obviously we’re happy with where he is right now.”
Bundy lost most of the past three seasons due to injury, including elbow surgery in 2013. The 23-year-old made his first big league start last week and picked up his first win as a starter Friday when he allowed one unearned run in five innings.
That’s 12 combined innings without giving up an earned run against a tough Indians offense. Twelve excellent innings for a duo that has been considered the club’s rotation future for some time now.
“That’s a very good team that we are playing. I think they have the most runs scored in the American League,” Gausman, 25, said. “It’s a good offense and I think me and Bundy both pitched well the last few days and, really, everybody has pitched well.”
The truth is this rotation is the Orioles’ biggest weakness. It’s what could stop them from making the postseason. We all know that. It’s why the Orioles have been associated with every potentially available starting pitcher this month, and why that will continue through the non-waiver trade deadline Aug. 1.
It’s why guys like San Diego’s Andrew Cashner, who has been dreadful away from pitcher-friendly Petco Park this season, is on the Orioles’ radar.
The current members of the rotation hear this stuff. They take it personally, to an extent. They want to show that they can do their part. Gausman admitted Saturday that he looks at those rumors as a challenge.
“Yeah, absolutely. I think me and Bundy, we both want to pitch well and I think we have the moving parts here to have a great starting staff,” he said. “Obviously, if we acquire somebody it’s not like we’re going to be mad, but I think we are all capable of doing it. It’s just if we can all kind of piece it together.”
Regardless of what Bundy and Gausman do, the Orioles need to acquire at least one starting pitcher. Two would be ideal. But it’s also nice to know that Bundy and Gausman, after several years of waiting and hoping, are pitching back-to-back.
And, based on this weekend anyway, getting results.