The road trip is over. After nine games in three cities, it's finally done.
Talk about a buzz-kill. So much hype surrounding it, and the Orioles lost two of three games at each stop. They didn't get consistent starting pitching, they didn't hit in the clutch, they didn't show any signs of putting together the kind of run necessary to blow past the clubs ahead of them in the division and wild card races.
Can a team that hasn't won more than five consecutive games string together enough victories to play into October?
I've heard people say, "I think this team has one more run left in it." To which I respond, "When was the first run?" One five-game winning streak isn't sufficient in my book.
It's got to happen now.
The Orioles are back home tonight to begin a four-game series against the White Sox, with Miguel Gonzalez taking the ball one night later than scheduled.
Gonzalez was supposed to close the three-game series in Cleveland last night, but he was pushed back to tonight. He's never faced the White Sox, and he's only pitched against two of their current players.
Jeff Keppinger is 1-for-10 against Gonzalez. Avisail Garcia is 2-for-3 with a home run.
Gonzalez is 5-2 with a 4.02 ERA in 11 home games and 3-5 with a 4.19 ERA in 14 road games. Maybe it's better to put him on the mound at Camden Yards.
The rotation is set through the weekend, with Scott Feldman starting on Friday, Wei-Yin Chen on Saturday and Bud Norris on Sunday. After that, it's anybody's guess.
Zach Britton was supposed to be part of the bullpen, but he started last night. Kevin Gausman is supposed to be part of the bullpen, but he could get a start this month.
Gausman is valuable as a power arm who can provide multiple innings in early, middle or late relief. Name it. But if the Orioles aren't getting the necessary innings or production from certain members of the rotation, maybe he should get a shot, even in a pennant race.
Throw strikes, get hitters out, win yourself a stuffed animal and a rotation spot.
Some fans are calling for Tsuyoshi Wada to get a start. The timing of his major league debut would be interesting, to say the least.
Are we really going from "Wada waste of $8.15 million" to "Wada we got to lose?"
Gausman replaced Britton last night with two on and one out in the third inning and struck out the next two hitters. He struck out another batter in the fourth, but the Indians scored twice off him in the fifth and tagged him with the loss.
His final line: 2 2/3 innings, 3 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts.
Gausman is 0-3 with a 7.66 ERA in 24 2/3 innings as a starter, with 21 runs, 34 hits, six walks and 20 strikeouts. He's allowed seven home runs and opponents are batting .333.
Before last night, Gausman was 2-0 with a 1.54 ERA in 11 2/3 relief innings over six appearances, with two runs, seven hits, four walks and 11 strikeouts. He hadn't surrendered a home run and opponents were batting .171.
Gausman was pitching for the third time in five days. This is a different role for him.
Let's see whether it changes again, with him moving back into the rotation. For one start or more. For better or worse.