Gausman: “Physically and mentally, I feel just about there” (O’s lose)


Score: Tigers 7, Orioles 1

Recap: Right-hander Kevin Gausman had a strong outing against a lineup not filled with regulars. But he was good: five innings, allowing just two singles, with one walk and eight strikeouts. Gausman fanned five the first time through the order and said he had three pitches he could throw in any count. ... The Orioles’ lone run scored on back-to-back doubles by Chris Davis and Trey Mancini in the second. Detroit scored five runs in the sixth through the eighth off Richard Bleier and Zach Stewart, and two more off Jesus Liranzo in the ninth. ... The Orioles are 12-9-2.

Need to know: Davis was 3-for-21 this spring before going 2-for-2 with a double and is batting .217. ... Mancini recorded a couple of putouts in right field. ... Gausman threw 78 pitches, 48 for strikes, and his outing was the longest by an Orioles pitcher this spring. ... The attendance of 8,105 at Ed Smith Stadium is the third sellout of spring training.

On deck: Monday, vs. Red Sox at Fort Myers, 1:05 p.m.

SARASOTA, Fla. - If it turns out, as expected, that he is asked to be the Orioles’ opening day starter, right-hander Kevin Gausman today looked very much up to the task.

Over a five-inning, 78-pitch outing, he held the Detroit Tigers to just two singles with one walk and eight strikeouts. Admittedly, it was nothing like a Tigers regular season lineup, but Gausman was strong. He fanned five batters the first time through the order and threw first-pitch strikes to 12 of the first 15 batters he faced. He was the first Orioles starter to throw five frames. No runner even reached second against him. He was very much in control.

gausman-pitching-white-sidebar.jpg“It felt good, really, with every pitch,” Gausman said outside the Orioles clubhouse. “It all starts with fastball command for me. I was able to throw my changeup and slider off that. Feeling good. Anytime you can have three consistent pitches - and today I felt like I could throw them in any count - that’s definitely going toward what we want.”

But his day was not perfect.

“There are some things in my delivery that I’m feeling that I know aren’t what they are going to feel like during the season. My stride was a little short today than it normally is. During the season, you have more adrenaline and more that goes into every pitch. But physically and mentally, I feel like I am just about there. With about 12 days left in camp, I’ll take that feeling right now.”

Counting a three-inning hitless and scoreless outing against the Dominican Republic on March 7, Gausman has an ERA of 1.38 this spring. Over 13 innings, he has allowed six hits and three runs (two earned) with three walks and 14 strikeouts.

As opening day gets closer, do results matter more?

“A little bit, but I think the biggest thing for a starter is going up and down five times,” he said. “That was my goal today was to get up to my pitch count and get up and sit down five times. The next outing may be six innings and 85 pitches, something like that.”

If Gausman pitched every fifth day moving forward, he would work on March 24 and March 29. Five days beyond that is April 3 - opening day.

Gausman said he wants to start throwing his split-finger fastball during the next two games, but he looked ready today. He was also asked about building off his 2016 success and pitching in a rotation alongside fellow first-round pick Dylan Bundy.

“It’s the time in the offseason, when you have a chance to look back, where you grow the most,” Gausman said. “I feel just a little bit smarter than I did last year. Hopefully, I am. Every year, you learn more about yourself, what your body needs and what you need - from nutrition to your routine on game day.

“It’s exciting for me to just see Bundy healthy and see him in the rotation all year. Excited to see what he can do every fifth day being on a more consistent schedule. First year in the big leagues, he had a 4.00 ERA. That’s pretty good. Anytime you are drafted high and feel like you are in line to help for many years to come, that is the end goal and we are definetly both excited.”

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