BOWIE, Md. - Kevin Gausman has retired the first six batters he has faced tonight in his first home start for the Double-A Bowie Baysox.
Gausman pitched a perfect first on 15 pitches, 11 for strikes. He got, in order, two groundouts and a swinging strikeout against Akron No. 3 hitter Chun Chen.
In a very quick top of the second, he sandwiched two outs on grounders around another swinging strikeout. It was just an eight-pitch inning.
So far, he has thrown 17 of 23 pitches for strikes. He mixed in a few sliders in the second after going mostly fastball in the first. There are no radar gun readings being listed tonight in Bowie.
In his first start, in the cold last Saturday at Harrisburg, Gausman gave up eight hits and six runs (four earned) over four innings.
Bowie manager Gary Kendall said before today’s game that Gausman gave up some hits on his third pitch, his slider, in that outing. The pitch is still a work in progress for him and he needs to throw it even if he might be able to better get a hitter out with a fastball or changeup.
This is where a final minor league pitching line may not tell the whole story of an outing.
“I saw a guy that was able to throw his fastball over and had plenty velocity on a tough night to pitch, it was pretty cold,” Kendall said of Guasman’s first start. “The slider, he needed better command of, he left some out and over the plate. Really good changeup.
“He gave up a few cheap hits where the ball had eyes. But I really liked what I saw. Wasn’t probably what he wanted but with a first outing and the weather and all. He’s in good shape.
“I mean it’s about development, about him pitching in Baltimore and our future and so there are times he has to throw it (the slider) and have more finish to it and stay over it more. Get more tilt to it and get it to bottom out more for him. It’s about his development and he’ll mix it in tonight. It’s a good pitch for him.”
Check back on this blog later tonight for more updates from Bowie.
Update: Gausman has kept Akron off the board on just one hit through four innings. In the third, he gave up a one-out single, but the inning ended when catcher Brian Ward cut the runner down trying to steal with a strong throw to second.
In the fourth, the first two runners reached on errors by shortstop Garabez Rosa and first baseman Aaron Baker. The runners advanced to second and third with none out on a wild pitch. Gausman then spoiled that threat by getting back-to-back strikeouts followed by an out on a weak grounder to short.
Gausman needed 38 pitches through the third and fourth. For the game he is at 61 pitches, 42 strikes. The scoreboard radar gun readings began to be posted in the fourth with Gausman hitting 95 to 98 with a few fastballs.
Meanwhile, Bowie took a 2-0 lead in this game in the last of the third. With two outs, Xavier Avery and Kyle Hudson singled and both scored on Ty Kelly’s triple to right. Kelly now has seven RBIs. They just added to it on an Aaron Baker solo homer in the fourth to go up, 3-0.
Update II: Gausman has thrown 92 pitches, 66 for strikes through six innings and has a 4-1 lead.
He allowed a leadoff double to Giovanny Urshela in the fifth and he came around to score on a wild pitch and an error charged to Ward. In the sixth, Gausman got the first two outs and then hit Chen with a 97-mph fastball on an 0-2 pitch that got away from him. He got the next batter out and Bowie is batting in the last of the sixth with a three-run lead.
Of his 18 recorded outs, Gausman has picked up 10 on ground balls and five via strikeouts.
Update III: Chris Petrini is now on to start the seventh and Guasman’s home debut is done. He is in line for the win with a 5-1 lead and his ERA down to 4.50 through two starts.
Final Gausman line: 6 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 1 HP, 2 WPs. He threw 92 pitches.
Update IV: The Baysox have wrapped up a 5-1 victory over Akron, and Gausman has earned the win, his first with Bowie. The Baysox have now won three in a row to improve to 4-4.