There does not exist a more searing contempt than that which the Orioles offense regularly displays towards Kevin Gausman. The O’s played another one of those “the bats got left at the airport” road games to open their series against the Athletics on Monday night and they lost, 3-2.
I was being facetious just there. Of course the Orioles hitters don’t actually hate Gausman, as far as I am aware. They just don’t score for him, especially not on the road, and so his streak of winless road games will roll on to another city.
Why do they seem to save these games for Gausman? That’s confirmation bias, because a lot of the time we see what we expect to see. They have played plenty of poor offensive games since the All-Star break, anyway - Gausman or no.
Which doesn’t make it any easier to stay up late and watch the O’s hang one run on Kendall Graveman in seven innings. Graveman, entering the game with a mid-4s ERA, is not the sort of pitcher who should shut down the Orioles. Paradoxically, this makes him the exact pitcher to shut down the Orioles hitters.
The lone run scored on one of those Oakland Coliseum fluke plays. The Orioles loaded the bases with one out in the third inning and scored a run on a sacrifice fly to first base.
Really. Manny Machado hit a popout far into foul territory down the first base side and the runner on third, J.J. Hardy, alertly was able to score on the play, with Oakland’s Yonder Alonso’s momentum carrying him away from home plate. That was the only run the Orioles scored against Graveman in seven innings where he was in the game.
Across the whole game, the Orioles picked up only seven hits and they drew no walks. The Athletics, too, had only seven hits, but they were able to get many more scoring opportunities and actually capitalize on a couple of those situations. The A’s were 2-10 in RISP situations, while the O’s were only 1-4, and they didn’t score a run when they got the one hit.
Get out the Vogt
Could Gausman have pitched better? Certainly. Any pitcher who doesn’t hurl a perfect game is capable of pitching better. Gausman would have been better off had he not decided to give up a fourth inning home run to Steven Vogt after getting a 1-2 count on Vogt. The result was that the game was knotted, 1-1.
A leadoff walk issued to Vogt in the sixth inning of the game also came back to have consequences for Gausman. After getting two outs, Gausman then gave up back-to-back singles to Machado’s brother-in-law as well as Billy Butler (forever may his name be cursed for what he did to Brad Bergesen).
Neither of those gentlemen have been particularly good against right-handed pitchers in 2016, which Gausman is. You want your young pitcher to be able to tighten up his game in close games blah blah blah. Whatever. I don’t want to hear it. A guy who gives up two runs in six innings should expect to win any given baseball game against any other baseball team, especially a bad one.
The final line on Gausman was two runs on six hits and two walks in six innings of work. He struck out six Athletics batters. Gausman also set a new career record for innings pitched at the MLB level, with 116.1 innings for the season. That says more about the way the O’s kept jerking him around the past couple of years than it does about anything he’s doing this year, though.
With the Orioles trailing by a run in the seventh inning, manager Buck Showalter summoned Logan Ondrusek, whose first act in the game was to issue a walk to #9 hitter Ryon Healy, who entered the game with a .260 on-base percentage. Come on, man! Don’t walk that guy. Healy moved up to scoring position on a groundout, then scored when he was driven in by a Vogt single. That guy again. Sheesh.
Now that the reliever had allowed a third run, the Orioles offense could safely pick up a second run. Machado blasted a 446 foot bomb out into the empty outfield seats to pull the Orioles within a run - not that it ended up mattering that they were within a run, as every remaining Orioles batter looked terrible in the team’s last at-bats.
The 4-5-6 hitters, Chris Davis, Mark Trumbo, and Pedro Alvarez, were a combined 0-12 in the game. You just aren’t going to win many games where that happens, although leadoff man Adam Jones, with a 3-4 game, really did try his best.
The Jays defeated the Rays in Tampa earlier on Monday after some doofus Rays LOOGY pitched more like a NOOGY and blew a tie game. That means the two teams are again tied atop the AL East, though the Orioles do lead by percentage points.
Hopefully the O’s can brush themselves off and show up for Tuesday’s game ready to destroy some fools. Wade Miley is scheduled to pitch for the Orioles in the 10:05 game, with Zach Neal listed as the A’s pitcher. Who is Zach Neal, you may ask? He is a 27-year-old rookie who will be making his second ever MLB start. Don’t stay up late for this.