KANSAS CITY - Should the American League Championship Series go the full seven games, the Orioles will need a fifth starter unless they use someone on short rest.
Rookie Kevin Gausman could end up on the mound for Game 7. It would depend on whether manager Buck Showalter inserted him earlier in the series.
Lots of moving parts.
We know that Wei-Yin Chen is starting Game 3 on Tuesday. Chris Tillman could start on normal rest Wednesday in Game 4 or be pushed back to Game 5, if needed, on Thursday, with Miguel Gonzalez finally getting his first postseason opportunity of 2014.
Bud Norris started Game 2 on Saturday and would be working on normal rest on Thursday.
Lots and lots of moving parts.
Gausman is getting his first taste of the postseason.
“Honestly, I didn’t really know what to expect because I’ve never been there, but crowd-wise, it’s exactly what I expected,” he said. “It had been crazy in Baltimore, especially. But I’m just excited for this opportunity. Obviously, we didn’t start the series the way we’d like, but we’re still very confident in ourselves.”
Gausman took the mound for the first time in the playoffs in Game 1, following reliever Tommy Hunter, who replaced Tillman. Gausman tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings.
“Yeah, it was crazy, but honestly, I think pitching against (Derek) Jeter in his last game (in New York) was the loudest any game has been for me this year,” Gausman said. “I think that kind of got me ready for the playoffs, to be honest.”
This experience can only benefit Gausman and the other rookies, including second baseman Jonathan Schoop and catcher Caleb Joseph.
“It’s huge, especially because I hope that we’re back here next year and the near future and hopefully I’m starting one of these games,” Gausman said. “That’s what I would like in the future, but anytime you have success in the postseason it definitely helps not only yourself, but your confidence level. And it also says a lot about your career.
“It’s definitely different for me just because I’m out of the bullpen. I can’t really compare how it would be starting it, but I’m sure it’s different, just being able to kind of forget things. You’ve got to be able to forget things right away. You give up a home run, some games you’ll get flustered by it, but especially in the postseason you’ve got to keep your eyes on the prize.”
The Orioles didn’t seem overly upset or relieved by today’s postponement. They just dealt with it.
They wanted to play, for sure. They showed up ready despite the ominous forecast.
Good or bad?
“I don’t know if it would be either one, to be honest,” Gausman said. “I wanted to play today. But you look at the weather from when you wake up and you kind of realize that the chances are slowly going down if it just keeps raining. Obviously, we wanted to play today, but we’ll just pick it up tomorrow.”
“I don’t think it means anything at all,” said left-hander Brian Matusz. “All it means is we play tomorrow instead of today. We get an extra day. I guess if you want to look at the advantage, we get an extra day to settle in here in K.C. But it’s just playing on a different day.
“From my understanding, it’s still going to be Chen and (Jeremy) Guthrie, so same matchup. It’s just going to be on Tuesday instead of Monday.”
“I don’t think our guys were hoping for a rainout,” said manager Buck Showalter. “Nobody does this time of the year, and especially for the fans and travel plans get messed up.”
First baseman Steve Pearce doesn’t think having two days off in a row offers any benefits physically.
“Not really,” he said. “We’re just really anxious to get back out there and play. It’s unfortunate with the weather because we wanted to play tonight. But we’ll have to go out there tomorrow and get them.
“We kind of had the idea that 100 percent chance of rain’s really not that good. We kind of had an idea.”
Perhaps making the Royals wait will help the Orioles as they attempt to overcome an 0-2 deficit in games.
“We’d like for them to cool down a little bit,” Pearce said, “and hopefully this helps.”
“We were ready to play ball today,” said executive vice president Dan Duquette, “but the weather won’t allow us to play. It takes away the off-day, right? So now it’s five consecutive days to play ball.”
Just another challenge in the schedule.
“That’s right on script, right? But I’m sure our guys will be ready,” Duquette said. “You don’t worry about the other team’s guys. Just our guys. I’m sure they’ll be ready to play ball when we can play ball.”
A reporter asked Duquette if he could sign a player to provide copy, since there’s no game to write about later tonight.
“I’m going to sign the room service at the hotel,” he replied.
Showalter wonders whether the Orioles will have a place to stay now that the series may be extended past Wednesday.
“I don’t even know if we’ve still got the hotel,” he said. “We may have to move to the Dew Drop Inn.”
It’s evident again today that the Orioles aren’t panicked over their series deficit. Losing twice at home hasn’t shattered their world.
“We already flushed it,” Pearce said. “That’s what this team is about. When stuff doesn’t go our way, we tend to flush it and get after it the next day.”
Altering the rotation also won’t create a disruption.
“We have all the confidence in all our guys, so whoever’s on the mound, we’ve got their back,” Pearce said.
The possibility of playing five days or nights in a row also won’t faze them.
“We played 162 games in 180 days, so we’ve played five in a row more often than not,” said left-hander Andrew Miller. “I think we’ll be fine.”
“We play every day, so it doesn’t really matter,” Matusz said. “We’ve got the starting pitching rotation depth to do that. We just have one less day in terms of travel. We’ve done it all year. We’ve done it many times. If anything gets the guys back out on the field, it’s a positive for us.”
Jarrod Dyson’s comments didn’t bother Miller. He smiled when another reporter mentioned them today.
Dyson is certain that the Royals won’t return to Baltimore and believes that the Orioles feel the same way.
“They’re confident and that’s fine. It’s our job to get it back there,” Miller said.
“I look at this as a three-game series. if we win this series, you get to play some games at home again in front of that crowd. That’s certainly our goal and our expectation and we’re capable of that. I don’t know how many series we lost since I came over at the trade deadline, but it was only a couple at the most. We’re capable.
“We know they’re a good team. They’ve played well and we’ve had our chances and we just need to capitalize on them this time around.”
Is there really bulletin board material in baseball?
“I’m sure different guys take something like that and run with it, but ultimately I feel like we don’t need anything like that,” Miller said. “We’re a pretty confident bunch. We’re not happy with the way the first two games have gone, but at the same time it’s not like we’ve been blown out or beaten handily or anything like that.
“We know what we can do, we know what we’re capable of and just go out there and play tomorrow.”