Orioles left-hander T.J. McFarland will make his first career major league start Friday night in the series opener against the New York Yankees, manager Buck Showalter announced after Thursday night’s Orioles win over the Cleveland Indians.
McFarland, who is 1-0 with a 4.14 ERA in 18 games and averages about 2 1/3 innings per appearance, has primarily worked as the Orioles’ long man this season. The 24-year-old rookie pitched his longest career outing Sunday, going 4 1/3 innings and allowing five runs on five hits in relief of right-hander Freddy Garcia. He earned his first career win in the Orioles’ 5-4 13-inning victory over the Boston Red Sox on June 13.
“It’s his turn,” Showalter said. “He’s four days rest. Be ready to go 80-plus pitches tomorrow at least and hopefully pitch five or six innings. The Yankees will have something to say about that.”
Right-hander Kevin Gausman, the other option to start Friday’s game, will be available out of the bullpen. He was called up Monday to provide bullpen depth after Garcia was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk, but he hasn’t appeared in a game yet.
McFarland will face a Yankees lineup that was befuddled by another left-hander Thursday, the Texas Rangers’ Derek Holland. Holland pitched a two-hit shutout, striking out seven Yankees while walking two. The Yankees are batting .233 against left-handers this season and have hit 17 home runs, both of which rank 24th in the majors.
While McFarland might not have the same success as Holland, who is in his fifth year, the lefty gives the Orioles an opportunity to gain an edge on the Yankees in the series opener. The Orioles have one game on New York for second place in the American League East.
“Mac is throwing the ball well and deserves an opportunity while we have an opportunity to take a look at it,” Showalter said. “We had a couple options, he was one of them and that’s where we are going tomorrow.”