Looking back and ahead

Kevin Gausman will attempt today to win his first major league game and avoid becoming the second consecutive Orioles starter to be ejected.

I'm confident that he will achieve the second goal. I mean, what are the odds of it happening twice in two days?

If the ball keeps slipping out of his hand, as it did yesterday with Jason Hammel, he may want to play it safe and switch to an underhand delivery. Maybe just roll the ball to the plate. Don't take any chances.

Hammel had the full support of teammates and his manager following yesterday's game, which included his ejection in the fourth inning for hitting Matt Tuiasosopo after allowing three consecutive home runs.

"Hammel is out there battling. He gives up three runs back-to-back-to-back and it happens, but I don't think it was called for to throw him out," said center fielder Adam Jones. "I understand the situation, but I think when you see him get hit, you've got to understand what pitch it is, because the man is not trying to hurt nobody. That's the last thing on Hammel's mind. He'd rather just get you out than hurt you.

"Slider got out of his hand and hurt him and Hunter (Wendelstedt) deemed that it was intentional, or probably just because it was up in that region. I understand it. It wasn't the right timing for us. Hey, it's part of the game and he addressed the situation the way he felt was necessary.

"You can see it wasn't a heater, but I can understand the umpire. It was up in that region of the head, the neck. I understand it. You don't have to agree with it, but you have to respect it."

Manager Buck Showalter noted that Hammel talked about his struggles with a slippery ball after the first and second innings.

"But some other guys who pitched well didn't have that issue," Showalter added.

The Orioles will have most of their relievers available today despite Hammel's early exit. T.J. McFarland covered three innings and has now worked at least two innings in 10 of his 13 appearances this season. Troy Patton tossed two scoreless innings, striking out three.

Hammel walked into Showalter's office after the game and said he would be available in relief today, but there's no way he's getting back on the mound after throwing 63 pitches.

McFarland was put in a tough spot yesterday, being rushed into the game following Hammel's ouster. The Tigers weren't sympathetic, scoring five runs off him.

"I thought Mac did a pretty good job," Showalter said. "Look at it this way, they used tow relief pitchers in two days. For us to get through, ... I thought Troy threw the ball well. He's had a couple good outings now. That's really good to see."

Jones appreciated how McFarland spared the bullpen overuse.

"Oh, yeah, I mean, we could have easily used guys, but we've got some guys that can be stretched out, which is cool," Jones said. "He might be down for (today), but we've got guys that are not just any guys. We've got some guys that can go three-plus (innings). We've got some versatility down there, which is pretty unique."

Jones, by the way, has hit safely in 50 of 56 games this season.

Rick Porcello is 1-3 with a 4.50 ERA in five career starts against the Orioles, who had some interest in him over the winter. He's 0-2 with a 5.56 ERA in two starts at Camden Yards, with 21 hits allowed in 11 1/3 innings.

Nick Markakis is 6-for-13 with a double and home run against Porcello. J.J. Hardy is 4-for-9. Chris Davis is 2-for-6 with a home run.

Matt Wieters is 4-for-11 with a double, but he's not starting today. Alexi Casilla is 5-for-15, but he'll have to unglue himself from the bench.

Down on the farm, catcher Taylor Teagarden went 0-for-4 and threw out one of two runners attempting to steal in his second injury-rehab game at Triple-A Norfolk. He's scheduled to serve as the designated hitter today.

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