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Thursday afternoon Orioles game thread: vs. Blue Jays, 3:07

Yes, it’s former Oriole Kevin Gausman pitching for the Blue Jays, so it’ll be extra painful if he dominates.

Baltimore Orioles v Kansas City Royals
Tyler Wells has been the only good Orioles starting pitcher so far this year.
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

There’s always something extra painful about the potential for getting wrecked by a guy who used to be on the Orioles. This is especially true when it involves pitchers who are generally agreed to have not lived up to their potential here. Perhaps it is the most true when that guy is Kevin Gausman, who the previous general manager traded away in a deal that looked idiotic the moment it was made and has only come to look worse with time.

When you get down to it, there is not much reason for this heartburn any more. The team the Orioles gave Gausman away to, the Braves, put him on waivers only about a year after that trade. The next team to get its hands on Gausman, the Reds, stuck him in the bullpen, then non-tendered him in the offseason.

Only after Gausman would have become a free agent if he’d remained with the Orioles did he end up truly blossoming in San Francisco; there’s no way the O’s would have ever signed him to the $110 million contract that got him to Toronto. Not a single part of this circumstance is his fault in any way, but the whole circumstance sure gets on my nerves. If he wrecks the Orioles today - which he should, because he’s good and the Orioles lineup isn’t - that will be even more annoying.

There was a little bit of roster movement in advance of this game. The O’s optioned Bruce Zimmermann to Triple-A Norfolk and recalled Mike Baumann. Presumably, Baumann will be available for some long relief duty today and beyond. With a scheduled off day on Monday, the Orioles can afford to let a turn be skipped and figure out who will plug in to that rotation spot several more games down the road.

Orioles lineup

  1. Cedric Mullins - CF
  2. Austin Hays - RF
  3. Ryan Mountcastle - 1B
  4. Adley Rutschman - DH
  5. Rougned Odor - 2B
  6. Tyler Nevin - 3B
  7. Ryan McKenna - LF
  8. Robinson Chirinos - C
  9. Jorge Mateo - SS

One question I asked myself on looking at this lineup is, why did the Orioles bother having Kyle Stowers be the replacement player for this series if they were not going to put him in the starting lineup for half of the games? You can look at the platoon splits for Gausman this season and see a semi-defensible rationale, in that Gausman has held lefties to a .551 OPS this year even though that’s the opposite of what you’d expect for a right-handed pitcher. On the other hand, is there so much benefit to having McKenna in the lineup?

Pitching for the Orioles today is Tyler Wells. His conversion from reliever to starting pitcher not being a disaster is one of the bigger surprises to me for this Orioles season. The fact that Wells has been the best Orioles starter so far is also part of the surprise, and also it’s depressing how much every other starting pitcher has stunk. Anyway, he’ll be facing the Jays as a starter for the first time. Good luck.

Blue Jays lineup

  1. Santiago Espinal - 3B
  2. Bo Bichette - SS
  3. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. - 1B
  4. Alejandro Kirk - DH
  5. Teoscar Hernández - RF
  6. Raimel Tapia - CF
  7. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. - LF
  8. Gabriel Moreno - C
  9. Cavan Biggio - 2B