OK, first things first. Kevin Gausman will not be a one-and-done Orioles starter.
The 22-year-old Gausman, who made his major league debut Thursday against the Toronto Blue Jays, will remain in the Orioles’ starting rotation for the time being. If anything, the poise he showed on the mound in his first start gives the Orioles greater confidence that he can help the team win at the big league level.
Asked how long Gausman will stay, here’s what Orioles manager Buck Showalter said:
“Do you know what tonight’s going to bring? He’s going to pitch in four, five days, he gets four days off and he pitches again. We’ll see what happens. I like the way he presented himself. He gave us a chance to win and he’ll learn from it. He’s a smart young man. You can see his presence and his presentation. I’m proud of him.”
Gausman’s ability to fight through a no-out, bases-loaded jam in the fourth inning with just one run scored showed his ability to handle the moment and battle adversity. We’ve seen pitchers with much more experience fail in those situations this season.
So we are impressed with Gausman, right? Now we will get to see how he learns from his first start. The Blue Jays seemed to make adjustments to Gausman their second time through the order. How will he make adjustments now having seen that first hand?
“Going forward I’m definitely going to use that as a learning experience and just hopefully learn from that and try to be better,” Gausman said.
Gausman relied heavily on his fastball-changeup combo Thursday night. He threw no more than about eight or nine sliders, and he used them well. I can’t wait to see him really unleash that pitch.
One thing you wouldn’t notice from watching on TV was that between innings Adam Jones was running from the dugout to the right-field foul pole, presumably testing that sore right groin on the Rogers Centre Astroturf.
You can tell Jones wants to get back out in the field ASAP. The Orioles have a very capable backup in Chris Dickerson. He can cover a lot of ground in center, and he made a really nice catch on Melky Cabrera’s sinking line drive to get Gausman out of the fourth inning. From my vantage in the press box, which is in the 300 level behind the plate, Cabrera’s ball sliced away from Dickerson wickedly and he made a great play.
Dickerson's made an impact on offense and defense. Jones never wants to miss a game in the field, and he's as tough as they come. He played through various injuries last season, but it's always refreshing to know you have a good backup for your cornerstone player.
One more thing to keep an eye on: Second baseman Alexi Casilla had an ugly gash on his left shin that came from someone coming into second base hard. That angered a number of Orioles players. Not sure who did it, but Brett Lawrie came into second pretty hard in the seventh inning trying to break up a double play.