Gausman’s interleague struggles, slow month of offense and more

If it turns out as expected that last night was, in fact, Kevin Gausman’s last start of 2017, he went out with a rough one. Gausman allowed Andrew McCutchen’s grand slam in the second inning as Pittsburgh routed the Orioles 10-1 to start a two-game series

Gausman allowed six runs over four innings and is 11-11 with a 4.81 ERA. Gausman needed to go 4 1/3 innings to set a new career high for innings pitched. He came up an out short. He has thrown 179 2/3 innings, the exact same number he had in 2016. Gausman made 30 starts then, going 9-12 with a 3.61 ERA. He has made a career-high 33 starts this season.

Kevin-Gausman-gray-sidebar.jpgIn 14 second-half starts, Gausman is 6-4 with a 3.59 ERA. Gausman’s first second-half start was against the Cubs, and he gave up eight runs in three innings. Between that start and last night, he went 6-3 with a 2.26 ERA over 12 starts.

Gausman struggled in those two games and in his six interleague starts in 2017, going 1-3 with a 10.24 ERA. In 16 career interleague games, Gausman is 3-8 with a 6.64 ERA.

When last night’s lineup was posted it didn’t occur to me that the Orioles were starting three rookies in the outfield, with Trey Mancini in left, Austin Hays in center and Anthony Santander in right. Santander went 1-for-3 last night in just his second start since Aug. 19.

It was also rather stunning to find out, via STATS, that last night was the first time the Orioles started three rookies in their outfield since Sept. 27, 1973 when it was Al Bumbry, Rich Coggins and Jim Fuller.

It is hard for me to understand why it took so long for Santander to get back in the lineup. The Orioles have been losing and out of realistic contention for a while now. Yet Santander got very few chances. Hard to understand, indeed.

The Orioles offense, missing in action most of this month, produced just one run on five hits last night. The Orioles are 7-17 in September, and they have scored three runs or fewer in 16 of those games.

After a pretty outstanding month of August on offense, the Orioles as a team are batting .225/.273/.366 in September, with an OPS of .639. They rank last in the American League in all four categories, as they do with 77 runs scored this month.

The home runs are not coming as often recently either. The Orioles have hit one homer or fewer 17 times in the last 19 games. They are 43-15 this year when they hit two or more homers in a game.

Mancini did extend his hitting streak to a career-best 15 straight games Tuesday night, with a double in the fourth. He went 1-for-4 and is batting .317 (20-for-63) in that span.

The Orioles will have a losing record in interleague games. They are 8-11 with one game left against the Pirates before they head to Tampa Bay to close out the season. They went 14-6 versus the National League in 2016.

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