His locker is stuffed with $300 worth of powdered donuts that teammates bought him as a joke. He always seems to wear purple dress shirts, perhaps because of his connection to LSU - making him perfect for Baltimore's other professional team. He was the 4th overall selection in the 2012 draft. He is Kevin Gausman, and he is making his major-league debut tonight. Merry Gausmas.
We can be fairly sure there is a method to Dan Duquette's madness here, having Gausman debut on the road against Toronto. The Blue Jays have scored the fewest runs of all American League East teams. With a 19-27 record after having made so many marquee moves this offseason, they are something of a joke. As big league debuts go, it will not be a relatively high-pressure situation. Andy MacPhail's style would have been to debut the exciting prospect at home. Duquette does not particularly care. Gausman gives the team a better chance to win, in his mind, than any other possible pitcher would have done tonight. So here he is.
I try to be excited about it, because I've been all-in on Gausman, but I've been an Orioles fan for long enough to fear the arrival of the heralded prospects, all of whom have stumbled for quite some time. Though most of them had nice enough debuts, so even if Gausman does well tonight, the fear won't be gone. But it'd sure be fun if he did well tonight.
Despite the low-scoring offense, it's no easy task for Gausman tonight. Three Blue Jays hitters have ten or more home runs: J.P. Arencibia (really?), Jose Bautista, and Edwin Encarnacion. Nothing to mess around with there.
The Blue Jays starter is Brandon Morrow, who brings a 5.16 ERA into the contest. That's always encouraging. He is homer-prone, which is also encouraging, surrendering eight in 45.1 IP. He is right-handed, which is yet again encouraging, and his Fangraphs page gives him the little cross for an injury "back day-to-day", meaning he may not be 100%, and this, too, is encouraging. Gausman's debut will not technically begin until the bottom of the first inning, and maybe the top of the Orioles lineup - heck, the entire Orioles lineup after they bat around, let's be greedy - will spot him a bit of a cushion.
Adam Jones, DH again tonight, has 33 PA against Morrow and has batted .387/.424/.742, with three homers. J.J. Hardy is 5-18 with two homers off Morrow. Let's not ask about the rest of the lineup, okay?
Score some runs for Goose, fellas, and help him crush the powdered donuts after the game. The nutritionists told him to give them up. That was kind of a cruel prank, but that's baseball players for you.
Goose, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||TORONTO BLUE JAYS|
|Nate McLouth - LF||Melky Cabrera - LF|
|Manny Machado - 3B||Jose Bautista - RF|
|Nick Markakis - RF||Edwin Encarnacion - 1B|
|Adam Jones - DH||Adam Lind - DH|
|Chris Davis - 1B||J.P. Arencibia - C|
|Matt Wieters - C||Brett Lawrie - 3B|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Colby Rasmus - CF|
|Chris Dickerson - CF||Emilio Bonifacio - 2B|
|Alexi Casilla - 2B||Munenori Kawasaki - SS|