CHICAGO - Last night was Kevin Gausman’s 116th career start for the Orioles and there have likely been few, if any, where he had better raw stuff. Gausman has been averaging getting swings and misses on 11 percent of his pitches this year and last night he got that on 23.5 percent.
His fastball averaged 94.4 mph and topped out at a season-best 99 mph. He got swings and misses on 17 of 41 split-finger fastballs. It was dominant stuff. But he only got a no-decision, as the White Sox rallied to score three in the eighth and won it 3-2.
“We know that he has that capability,” manager Buck Showalter said of Gausman. “What I like is that he’s pitching and then, when he has to get a little extra, he goes and gets it. That’s been fun to watch. There is a real confidence there. You can tell he feels good where he is with all his pitches. There is not just one thing (working). If he thinks someone is not going to get off the fastball, then he’s got weapons to go to. But his command was good, too. He got a lot of strikes called on both sides of the plate and that was good to see.”
Gausman’s velocity is getting better as the season goes on. For the third game in a row, his fastball averaged better than 94 mph. He got swings and misses on his splitter 15 times on 34 pitches through the fifth inning. He got swings and misses on that pitch a season-best 41 percent of the time, topping the previous best of 30.7 percent on April 1 versus Minnesota.
Gausman got a career-high 25 swings and misses on his 106 pitches. His previous season high was 16 and his previous career best was 21.
Did Gausman most like that he had a nasty split going or that he could reach back for a big fastball when needed?
“A little bit of both,” he said. “Had a really good feel for my fastball and was able to throw it consistently where I needed to. You know when I can throw a fastball down and away consistently, usually my split is going to play off that pretty well. I kind of knew early on that I had a really good feel for it. I was most happy with my sliders tonight, too. I threw some really good sliders. Really there was just one to Welly (Welington Castillo) that stayed in the zone and he put a good swing on it, but you know that is where I felt I was most consistent tonight.”
There was a lot to like about Gausman’s outing and the right-hander is now 3-3 with a 3.48 ERA through 10 starts. Over his past four starts, his ERA is 2.63, and that includes the start where he allowed six runs in Boston. In 27 1/3 innings in that span, he has walked five and fanned 28.
Said Mark Trumbo: “He was nasty tonight. That was really good - spotting the fastball and the split-finger was falling off the table. That was really encouraging.”
Trey’s day in the outfield: When left fielder Trey Mancini recorded two outfield assists in one inning in Monday’s series opener, he did something that had happened just once before in the entire history of the Orioles.
Mancini and Don Buford are the only O’s outfielders to record two assists in an inning. Buford got two in the opening inning on June 25, 1970 at Boston. Mancini did so in the fifth inning Monday night.
“I didn’t know that and it actually really surprised me when I found that out,” Mancini said. “But, yeah, it’s always cool to be part of history and hopefully I can get a few more.”
Mancini realizes that he doesn’t have the strongest arm. But it may be better than he gets credit for and he’s been making mostly accurate throws.
“I think it is more about accuracy,” he said. “You know, you get two assists in an inning, you actually wonder if there is a scouting report that your arm is not very good or something. That crossed my mind. But I don’t think that is the case. I think my arm is better than people think and hopefully people try to run on me. Than I can throw them out and hopefully change that narrative a little bit.”
According to STATS, the last player in the majors with two outfield assists in the same inning was José Osuna of the Pittsburgh Pirates, who did so on July 6, 2017 at Philadelphia in the second inning. Mancini is tied for the major league lead with six outfield assists for the season.
A few final notes: The Orioles have scored just five runs in this series on 12 hits. They are 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position. Since the Orioles beat Tampa Bay 17-1 on May 13, they have scored 17 runs in their past eight games and eight in the last four games.
Trumbo, who failed to catch a triple in the eighth that helped fuel Chicago’s three-run rally, went 4-for-4 at the plate. He had two doubles and two singles, and is batting .309.
Castillo had a season-high three hits for the White Sox. The former Oriole is batting .358 (14-for-39) over his last 11 games with three homers and nine RBIs.
On this road trip, Chris Davis is 1-for-19 with 11 strikeouts. Over his past 10 games, he is 4-for-39 with 20 strikeouts.
The O’s bullpen had an ERA of 1.17 in the first five games of this trip before allowing three runs in 1 2/3 innings.