Kevin Gausman is pitching quite well right now for the Orioles, and some have even suggested that he could become the closer for this team.
Gausman has put together seven scoreless innings in his last three appearances - all of which have come in relief. He has allowed just four hits with one walk and six strikeouts. He has needed just 91 pitches to throw those seven innings.
In fact, if you go back to Gausman's last start, he has allowed just two earned runs over his last four games and 12 1/3 innings. In his first four major league outings, he worked to an ERA of 8.84 with a batting average against of .346. In his last four, his ERA is 1.46 with an average against of just .217.
First of all, unlike some of you, I think Buck Showalter was not just saying it when he remarked yesterday that Jim Johnson is still his closer. I think he will keep giving Johnson the ball in the ninth.
But, if he did choose to use the rookie right-hander as a closer, I think he could do well in the role. He has what it takes. It is an intriguing thought.
However, I don't think it's the right move right now. The closer role is a pressure cooker, and I think it would be asking too much for Gausman to come in now and try to save the day.
He's coming along real well - those last four games prove it - and they should just leave him pitching in the role he is in right now and let him continue to develop.
He is still a future starter for this team and maybe the top-of-rotation starter many feel he will become. We just don't know when he's going back in the big league rotation. There doesn't appear to be room for that at the moment, but I think he could help this team pitching a couple of times a week out of the bullpen. I think Gausman benefits more pitching in a 'pen role in the majors than he does starting at Triple-A.
Gausman as closer? An interesting thought, and he'd probably do well in the role, but I just think that is asking too much of him right now and that it's not the best move.