SARASOTA, Fla. - Kevin Gausman was facing a Detroit Tigers lineup that featured just one everyday player. But the man who had the best seat to watch the Orioles right-hander pitch today said his stuff was so good, that he would have had a dominant outing if this had been a regular season game.
Gausman brought his A game and catcher Caleb Joseph said this outing would have played well against any team at any time in the regular season.
Joseph provided a glowing assessment of Gausman’s five scoreless innings against the Tigers. He threw 78 pitches, 48 for strikes and allowed just two singles. He walked one, fanned eight and threw first-pitch strikes to nine of the first 11 batters he faced. No Detroit runner - and they had just three - even reached second base.
“Tremendous. Fantastic,” Joseph said about the right-hander. “It’s cool to watch the maturation of a young flamethrower. He really pitched, that was definition of his day today. He pitched. All quadrants, all speeds. Didn’t use a single split, all changeups. I know it is not their normal A squad, but he’s done it the last three outings.
“It is cool to watch a real power arm start really hitting the quadrants and hitting his spots. About the middle of last year he was turning the corner of being real, real dominant.”
Gausman’s five-inning outing is the longest by an Oriole this spring. Over four spring starts (one against the Dominican Republic), Gausman has an ERA of 1.38. Over 13 innings, he has given up six hits and three runs (two earned) with three walks and 14 strikeouts.
His secondary pitches were on today as well as his fastball. Gausman uses two changeups, one of which is a split-finger pitch that he didn’t even throw today. He dominated the Tigers with one pitch tied behind his back.
“I think his slider is pretty tight right now - it’s as good as I’ve ever seen it,” Joseph said. “But the slider is only as good as the command of it. You don’t have to have the tightest one, but if you can locate it, (that is big). I would say the split is his best secondary pitch, but I’m very impressed with how he is throwing the slider this year. I’m really excited about him. He was just in complete control from the first pitch. He threw a lot of really good sinkers today. Perfect zone management. It was impressive.”
I asked Joseph if today was one of those days he wondered what it would look like if Gausman was, say, facing the Boston Red Sox or another top team in a big game during the season.
“There is no doubt in my mind that, with what he brought today, he would have gotten the same results,” Joseph said. “No doubt. With what he brought today and the last three starts and really since the middle of last year, he is going to a get lot of outs against some really good lineups.”