Kevin Gausman got the news last night that he was headed to join the Orioles. He arrived in the Orioles clubhouse just after 3 p.m. today and later talked about his start tomorrow night when he will make his major league debut at Toronto.
“Obviously, it is going to be real exciting,” Gausman said. “You know, trying not to think about it too much and just keep doing what I’ve been doing, throwing strikes. Just try to pitch my game.”
So who did he first call after getting the good news last night?
“I called my dad, and he didn’t answer of course, so I called my mom,” Gausman said. “My dad said she about fainted. It was pretty exciting and kind of emotional for my mom. It was definitely something I’ll never forget.”
The club’s top pick last year is 2-4 with an ERA of 3.11 in eight starts this year for Double-A Bowie.
He got the word of his promotion to Baltimore after Bowie’s game last night at Akron.
“(Director of player development) Brian Graham, (Bowie manager) Gary Kendall and (Bowie pitching coach) Blaine Beatty called me into the coaches room,” Gausman said. “Didn’t really know what to expect, and then Gary Kendall kind of dropped the bomb on me.
“I don’t think it really hit me until today. Until my second flight here from Atlanta, then I was kind of thinking wow, I’m really here. It’s crazy.”
But after spending so much time with the Orioles in spring training, Gausman already has a comfort level with the Orioles and with being in a big league clubhouse.
Still, it was special when he walked in today.
“It is definitely something I’ll never forget, walking in here,” he said.
“In spring training, part of the reason they kept me there so long was to get used to being around these guys. I think they do a really good job of having younger prospects, guys like me and (Dylan) Bundy, around those guys a lot.”
What did he work on during his eight starts this season with the Baysox?
“The biggest thing was they told me to get used to a five-man rotation, get used to pro ball,” Gausman said. “I hadn’t really been used to throwing every fifth day, and the travel in pro ball is different than college. It is definitely something you get used to after a while.
“I think I’ve definitely improved. I think the biggest thing was my slider improved more than anything. Being able to throw it in different situations. I’ve talked all year about learning different ways to throw it, and in different situations, and I think that is definitely something I’ve learned more than anything else.”
He was asked if he had much knowledge of the Blue Jays’ lineup he will face and what differences he expects between Double-A and the big leagues.
“I faced them a couple times in spring training, but that doesn’t really mean anything,” Gausman said. “When I pitched against them, I was throwing the eight or ninth (inning). I know their lineup and some of their marquee guys.
“That is a good question (about the differences). I think the hitters up here kind of have more of a plan. They are smarter and make quicker adjustments. You have to make quick adjustments as well.”
Gausman has been pitching well in his recent Bowie starts. He has allowed one earned run or fewer in four of his last five starts, allowing just two earned runs in the other. He has an ERA of 1.78 in that time.
Gausman said he has worked hard all year to throw a lot of strikes, and, in 46 1/3 innings at Bowie, he walked just five and fanned 49.
“Going into spring training, I was focusing on throwing more strikes,” he said. “In big league camp, I didn’t want to get sent down because I didn’t throw strikes. I kind of hit the ground running in spring training and going into the season tried to do the same thing.”
The Orioles clearly deem Gausman ready for his first big league game. But, does he feel that same way, and when did he feel he was ready to move up?
“I don’t know if I thought that. I was kind of shocked (to get called up,) and I didn’t really know what happened until today,” Gausman sain. “Then, I thought, “Wow, I wish I would have hugged this guy or told this guy thanks and stuff like that.’ It didn’t really hit me until today.
“I didn’t have that one moment that sticks out. I was just trying to win ballgames. I got off to a slow start there and was leaving some balls up. Just tried to get back to what I was doing in college and win ballgames.”