When Kevin Gausman came out to pitch the eighth last night, I was totally fine with that. There, I said it. No problem with the kid on the mound with a one-run lead last night.
That is how I felt then and I won’t act differently now that he gave up three runs that put New York into the lead.
Buck Showalter said a couple of relievers were not available last night and if he was referring to Tommy Hunter and Darren O’Day, that made Gausman pitching the eighth even more understandable.
Gausman pitched a very strong seventh, fanning two while throwing some excellent changeups. Maybe facing Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano and Alfonso Soriano was too much to ask, but that would have been a tough inning no matter who took the ball. Maybe Brian Matusz should have come on to match up with Cano. We always seem to feel, though, that the move that was not made was the one that would have worked.
Some of you hate it when the players say they tip their cap to the opponent, but last night may have been the night that was applicable. Those three hitters - each with strong resumes - were just better than the kid.
Gausman is mentally tough and strong. Any concerns about this impacting his confidence are unfounded. He’ll be fine.
The Orioles let a game get away and that hurts. A game where they took a 4-1 lead in the fifth.
I’m still concerned with an offense that scored five runs, yes, but had gone seven straight games scoring four or less until last night, which was not exactly a breakout game on offense.
The Orioles are not clicking on all cylinders right now despite a 4-2 record on this homestand. Yet they remain just 1 1/2 games out of a playoff berth.
I would not have expected the Rays to struggle like they are to keep the door open, but they have. For the Orioles, this is the playoff chase that won’t die. A 3-6 road trip didn’t do them in. A loss last night didn’t either.
They haven’t made that run they need to make, but they are still very much in it.
Now there are 18 games to play.