The worst part for Kevin Gausman this afternoon is that the Baltimore Orioles gave him a three-run lead before he even stepped on the mound. Not only could Gausman not hold the lead, but he allowed Tampa to put up a crooked number in the third before leaving the game with two outs (in that third inning). Gausman’s line: 2.2 IP, 6 H, 7 R, 2 BB, 1 K.
Things looked up for the Birds early on. They loaded the bases in the first inning, and took the lead on Chris Davis‘ sac fly-RBI. And incidentally, that came after a decent at-bat for Davis. While he isn’t hitting with the fire and fury that his contract mandates, there are other ways to contribute. He does so defensively game in and game out, and in this case he was able to plate a run for the Orioles – by recording an out.
The Orioles would re-load the bases again in the first inning, and would take a 2-0 lead on a Sisco walk. Craig Gentry‘s RBI-single would then run the score to 3-0. So if you’re at home you’re thinking that things are looking up for the Birds on this day. But it wasn’t to be.
Gausman would start giving runs back almost immediately on a solo homer by Miller. However he was able to get out of the inning without further damage, and he retired Tampa in the second 1-2-3. However Miller would come up again in the third with runners at second and third. And he would deliver a two-RBI double, tying the score at three.
Later in the inning Wendle would smack an RBI-single, giving Tampa the lead at 4-3 – and Wendle went to second on Mancini’s throw. Wendle would later score on an RBI-ground out after moving to third base. And that’s been something that’s plagued the O’s for a long time; guys not hitting the cut off man and trying to throw out a runner that isn’t going to be thrown out 95% of the time. When runners take extra bases on the O’s in situations like that, they almost always find a way to score.
Arroyo would add a two-RBI single before the inning could end, and when the smoke cleared the O’s trailed 7-3. Gomez would smack a solo homer in the seventh for good measure, and the O’s dropped this one 8-3. This game got out of control due to the big inning by Gausman for sure. However it’s not all on him. I mentioned Mancini not hitting the cut off man above; things like that have haunted this team all season. Lack of offensive production has done the same. The O’s couldn’t get anything going after the first inning.
And at the end of the day, you have to just keep grinding. There isn’t much else to say. It’s a long season, and while circumstances beyond their control haven’t been kind to the Orioles to this point, circumstances within their control haven’t been controlled either. And they can start keeping things under control by hitting the cut off man. Now with that said, also keep in mind that those mistakes are done out of wanting to make something happen. Not out of stupidity or lack of talent.
For what it’s worth, the Orioles weren’t thrilled with home plate umpire Mark Wegner’s strike zone for most of the day. There were numerous borderline pitches that they felt went Tampa’s way – whether they were in the field or at bat. Buck Showalter seemed to glare out towards home plate on numerous occasions. While pitch-track technology seemed to back up the Orioles’ point, often times when your pitching staff is struggling you won’t get those calls. Them’s the breaks.
The Orioles now head home to open up a three-game set with the Washington Nationals in the “Battle of the Beltways” on Memorial Day Alex Cobb gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Washington’s Gio Gonzalez. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.