Kevin Gausman: Aberdeen Ironbirds

 

Byline IanThe Aberdeen Ironbirds, the short season Single-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, faced the Staten Island Yankees on Wednesday night. After a 36-minute rain delay, Orioles prospect Kevin Gausman took the mound for the Ironbirds in a two-inning, short start.

A “short start” is like a bullpen session, only the pitcher is facing live batters. A “short start” is something major league pitchers do not have. The reason Gausman threw a “short start” was because he needed to wait 10 days after he was sent down from Baltimore to be promoted again.

Wednesday was Gausman’s scheduled day to pitch, five days after he last took the mound. From what Gasuman said post-game, and from what Orioles beat writers said on Twitter, there is a high possibility that Gausman will pitch Sunday for the Orioles.

Gausman last pitched on Friday, June 27 for the Orioles against the Tampa Bay Rays in the first game of a doubleheader. In that start, he gave up five runs on seven hits and four walks, but only struck out one batter in 5.0 innings.

Wednesday night, as most people suspected, was a very different outing. He went just two innings, allowed one hit, issued one walk and struck one batter out. He also allowed an unearned run when the second baseman threw the ball low to first , trying to complete a double play, and Gausman could control it.

This was my first view of Gausman in person. From what I had seen on television and from what analysts say about him, my expectations were very high. Thankfully, he did not disappoint and he put on an impressive performance even though it was a short one.

The pitches Gausman threw were in the upper 90s all night. He hit 99 on the radar gun a few times.

“I felt pretty good,” Gausman said. “I was just getting my work in and just trying to establish fastball command and more than anything, that’s what I did.”

Gausman just pitched two innings for the Ironbirds. He allowed one hit, one walk and one unearned run. He also struck one batter out.

When asked after the game about what is next for him, Gausman said that he isn’t sure what the future holds.

“I don’t really know,” Gausman said. “I think it’s kinda up in the air what’s gonna happen in the next couple days so just kinda play it by ear.”

Gausman also said that he was not trying to work on any one pitch in particular except his fastball.

“Just [trying to work on] fast ball command, just moving fastball in and out on guys,” he said. “And probably the biggest thing was throwing fastballs in, like I’ve been doing in the big leagues.

“I just felt like I should make the most of two innings. It was two innings or 35 pitches. We got to 29 and decided that I had a good work day.”

 

First Inning:

Gausman started out very strong. The Orioles top pitching prospect hit 99 on the radar gun on the first pitch he threw.

Two pitches later, he threw an off-speed pitch that was registered at 66 mph. One pitch after that, Gausman got the first batter to pop-out to the first baseman.

He struck the second batter out on a nasty off-speed pitch. The third batter hit a weak ground ball up the third baseline in-between the catcher and Gausman. The catcher called Gasuman off and threw on to first to retire the batter.

Gausman pitched a 1-2-3 first inning, hitting at least 98 mph against all three batters faced.

Second Inning:

The second inning was a little bit of a struggle compared to his first. After Gausman retired the first batter on two pitches, the next batter singled to right field. He walked the next batter on a 3-2 count.

With one out, Gausman got the fourth batter to ground to the first baseman, who threw to second base to get the second out in the inning. The throw to first was low and the ball got past Gausman, allowing a run to score.

 

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