After talking to manager Buck Showalter about the two candidates for Thursday’s start that he passed along earlier today, I wondered whether he had just talked himself out of both of them.
Jake Arrieta’s career numbers in Toronto were a concern. T.J. McFarland’s lack of experience and the possible repercussions of a failed start were a concern.
Showalter always adds “among others” when listing candidates. Well, Kevin Gausman was one of the “others,” and he’s getting the start on Thursday.
Here’s the report from MASNsports.com’s Steve Melewski, who deserves massive amounts of credit for getting the story late tonight. He had it.
I’m aware that I kept shooting down the idea that Gausman was heading here, but executive vice president Dan Duquette was adamant about it. Showalter also downplayed the possibility. But things do change quickly around here.
Here’s what Showalter told me less than a week ago:
“He’s right where he needs to be. We like him, just like we like, I could mention 10 or 15 other guys like that. Never overlook orchids while searching for roses. And that’s how I look at it.
“We’re excited about having him. He’s getting challenged there like he should. He’s competing, adjusting well. It’s not like he’s just throwing his hat out there and everybody’s bowing at his feet. But at the same time, it’s a good challenge for him and we’ll see where it takes us.
“It’s good to think he could present himself as an option for us at some point in his career. And I’ll leave it at that.”
A day earlier, Duquette said that Gausman was “doing fine where he is,” and added, “He’s not a candidate for us to recall him.”
And then things changed.
Starters failed to go more than five innings in six of seven games before breaking the barrier in the past three. Gausman struck out 10 batters in his last start. He’s still working on his slider, and he’s been “challenged,” as Showalter likes to say. But the Orioles want to take a look.
Gausman was supposed to start Wednesday night for Double-A Bowie, but he’s been scratched and Zach Clark is taking his place.
We have no idea whether Gausman could be one-and-done with the Orioles - like Josh Stinson, Zach Britton, Steve Johnson and Jair Jurrjens. But the Orioles must be tired of running that shuttle back and forth.
Arrieta could go from candidate to being optioned, since he’s an extra bullpen arm. Somebody has to make room for Gausman on the 25-man roster.
Gausman will be the 11th starter used by the Orioles this season. He most definitely will be the most highly anticipated.