If you're like me, your excitement about Kevin Gausman has turned quickly into horror. This is how the failed Orioles pitching prospects of the past have gone. Highly-touted, and then the disaster. It will be the home debut for Gausman, who has given up a bunch of home runs, and he will be making that debut against the Tigers, who have hit like one million home runs so far in the series. They like to hit home runs.
Well, some of their players like to hit home runs. Miguel Cabrera, mostly, who is angling to catch Chris Davis in home runs so he can ascend into the Triple Crown again.
In short, hold on to your butts.
Orioles hitters will be up against Rick Porcello, who is the Tigers version of a pitching prospect who comes up and occasionally dazzles you but is mostly pitching mediocre at best. He has dipped a bit lower than mediocre this year, coming into today's game with a 5.29 ERA while surrendering seven home runs in 51 innings. He is not dissimilar from Jake Arrieta in this sense: his strikeouts are up this year and his walks are down, but still the ERA is up.
Bad luck? 55% ground ball rate is less of a positive when that means significant numbers of grounders are being hit to Cabrera and Prince Fielder. His BABIP of .314 is in line with his career number of .312, so it's probably not that. Stranding only 64.1% of baserunners is low, so we might guess he's bad once men get on base. The Orioles - and it still shocks me to say this - are generally good at getting men on base, with one of the higher team OBPs in MLB. And if anyone is going to do well attacking hittable stuff, it's them.
A loss today wouldn't be the end of the world. It's just one game, and would result in just one lost series. Though a loss with Porcello dominating and Gausman getting obliterated and then demoted after the game would probably feel like the end of the world. Let's hope the Orioles just skip all of those steps and find a way to win, so we can feel good about the team as we set our sights on Houston.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||DETROIT TIGERS|
|Nate McLouth - LF||Andy Dirks - LF|
|Manny Machado - 3B||Torii Hunter - RF|
|Nick Markakis - RF||Miguel Cabrera - 3B|
|Adam Jones - CF||Prince Fielder - 1B|
|Chris Davis - 1B||Victor Martinez - DH|
|Chris Dickerson - DH||Jhonny Peralta - SS|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Alex Avila - C|
|Ryan Flaherty - 2B||Ramon Santiago - 2B|
|Chris Snyder - C||Avisail Garcia - CF|