By Eduardo A. Encina
The Baltimore Sun
7:00 AM EDT, July 4, 2013
New Orioles acquisition Scott Feldman wasn’t spectacular Wednesday night in his O’s debut, but if he can give the club outings like he did against the White Sox, the trade with the Cubs will be a win.
Six innings of two-run ball. If the Orioles get that regularly, they’ll take it. They can with this lineup, which will score enough to cover that on most nights.
While the Orioles needed Chris Davis’ two-run double in the seventh inning Wednesday to win, the O’s nearly broke the game open early against White Sox pitcher Hector Santiago. J.J. Hardy’s fly ball was just a couple feet from a 4-0 first-inning lead. Matt Wieters also hit a ball to the warning track.
Given Feldman’s past 48 hours, his performance was impressive. He flew to Chicago from Oakland, where the Cubs were playing. Orioles manager Buck Showalter joked that his new gray pants didn’t look like they fit him and that his new orange and black shoes surely weren’t broken in.
Feldman played parts of four seasons with Davis with the Rangers as Davis shuttled back and forth between the majors and Triple-A. Feldman saw the slugger Davis has become Wednesday as he hit his 32nd homer, and his three-RBI night improved his season total to 83.
“I think the big thing with him was just getting an opportunity,” Feldman said. “He’s always been a really talented and strong guy. He’d go down to the minor leagues and do the same thing every time, and then get back up to the big leagues and be kind of inconsistent with the playing time and the situation over there, obviously. I think this was a great move for him and obviously it’s working out well for him.”
Changing subjects a bit, it looks like pitching prospect Kevin Gausman will remain with the Orioles and work out of the bullpen.
Gausman’s thrown 5 1/3 scoreless relief innings since joining the bullpen. While everyone knows his future is as a front-line starter, gaining innings in relief is a good move for the 22-year-old.
It’s there where Gausman can really learn how to attack big league hitters. Working out of the bullpen doesn’t give a pitcher much time to think and overanalyze. He just pitches and shows his stuff. And having a power arm like Gausman’s can only help the Orioles bullpen. And it appears that Gausman has embraced the change of pace.
The formula worked back when the Rays brought left-hander David Price up through the bullpen in the 2008 playoffs, giving him a foundation to build on the next season.
Having said that, Gausman could end up going back to Norfolk once left-hander Wei-Yin Chen rejoins the rotation off the DL, but I truly think Gausman serves a valuable purpose as a major league reliever for right now.
Let’s see what Zach Britton brings this afternoon. He is also a candidate to be optioned when Chen returns. Is he pitching for his rotation spot today? Not necessarily, but a strong outing will make the Orioles’ roster decision more difficult.
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