Gausman on wins and losses, Bundy on the cutter/slider

If Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman is going to take a significant step toward becoming the staff ace, he probably can do so without the weight of an impressive won-loss record reducing his stride.

The stat is largely meaningless, considering how many factors are out of a pitcher’s control. But Gausman might enjoy a little more support from his teammates this year. The gesture would be appreciated, even if wins and losses won’t define him.

Gausman is 23-31 in 95 major league games spread over parts of four seasons, but his ERA fell below 4.00 in 453 innings. He didn’t pick up his first win in 2016 until June 25, but through little or no fault of his own.

The former first-round pick received 82 runs of support in his 30 starts. He received one run or fewer in 12 of those outings.

Check out his results in his first four starts. He allowed one run in five innings, two earned runs in six innings, no runs in eight innings and three runs in six innings, and he was 0-1 with three no-decisions. He didn’t get a decision after holding the Angels to one run in 6 2/3 innings on May 21, after holding the Yankees to one run over six innings on June 5 and after limiting the Blue Jays to two earned runs in 6 1/3 innings on June 10.

In 41 games (24 starts), Gausman has posted a 2.82 ERA when failing to get a decision.

Gausman-Delivers-Gray-SIdebar.jpgGausman, who turns 26 today, registered a career-high five consecutive quality starts between Aug. 23-Sept. 14, going 4-0 with a 0.82 ERA that was the lowest among qualifying American League pitchers. He had to sneak in one no-decision.

“You just kind of have the cards fall,” Gausman said last night on the “Hot Stove Show” on 105.7 The Fan. “That’s baseball. That’s what makes it exciting, but at the same time, sometimes it can get a little frustrating.

“We were clicking on all aspects of the game. I thought we played very well in the first half and it seemed like for whatever reason it always ended up on my day. I don’t think we necessarily played bad on those days.

“If you don’t give up any runs, you have a better chance of winning.”

Meanwhile, Dylan Bundy said on the “Hot Stove Show” that he may slowly reintroduce his cutter/slider - he isn’t sure how to best describe it - in 2017.

The Orioles removed the pitch from Bundy’s arsenal in order to relieve the pressure it created on his right forearm. He’s been relying on his fastball, curveball and changeup.

“I think I took a big step forward with those three pitches last year,” he said. “Being able to get my curveball over for strikes and also as a put-away pitch was huge, and then also adding in my changeup quite a bit.

“It’s a cutter/slider, I don’t know what you want to call it, but I’ll probably start throwing it in a week or two and just tinker with it and see how it feels on the arm. I’ll play catch with it in the spring. I don’t know if I’ll throw it off the mound quite that early or not, but just kind of play it by ear right now.”

Executive vice president Dan Duquette didn’t provide much of an update yesterday on the Mark Trumbo negotiations during a phone interview on “The Mid-Atlantic Sports Report” on MASN. He repeated that the Orioles are trying to improve their outfield defense while maintaining a good offensive presence. And he brought up the one perk attached to losing Trumbo.

“Mark had a great year,” Duquette said. “The good news is that we made a qualifying offer to him and in the event that he goes somewhere else, we get a No. 1 draft pick. And that’s something that we value. We’ve given away a number of draft picks over the last couple of years and with a new basic agreement, clubs are really valuing the opportunity to get a draft pick back with these free agent players because under the new agreement you’re not going to get as strong a pick back.

“At a minimum, we’re going to get a No. 1 pick if somebody else signs him. If we’re able to sign him, of course we’d be glad to have him back on the club. But we’re still looking at some other options to help us in the outfield and to staff right field.”

The Orioles aren’t done with their attempts to increase their pitching depth in the farm system.

Veteran right-hander Zach Stewart reportedly has signed a minor league deal after spending the past two seasons in the Korean Baseball Organization. No word on whether he receives a spring training invitation.

Stewart, 30, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 with the Red Sox, when he made two starts. He’s 3-10 with a 6.82 ERA in 33 games (14 starts) over parts of two seasons.

Stewart made his debut against the Orioles on June 16, 2011, allowing two earned runs over seven innings with the Blue Jays. J.J. Hardy and Vladimir Guerrero homered off Stewart, who didn’t receive the decision in a 4-3 loss at Rogers Centre.

The Reds selected Stewart in the third round of the 2008 draft and traded him a year later to the Blue Jays with Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Roenicke for Scott Rolen. Stewart made three starts with the Jays in 2011 and eight starts among his 10 appearances with the White Sox, going a combined 2-6 with a 5.88 ERA. He went 1-2 with a 6.00 ERA with Chicago in 2012 before being traded to the Red Sox with Brett Lillibridge for Kevin Youkilis.

In the ensuing years, Stewart was traded to the Pirates, selected off waivers by the White Sox, purchased by the Braves, signed by the Angels as a free agent and released on June 9, 2015.

Stewart hasn’t pitched in the U.S. since going 1-2 with a 3.43 ERA in 12 games (eight starts) with Triple-A Salt Lake in 2015. He was 8-2 with a 2.68 in 19 starts with the NC Dinos of the KBO in 2015 and 11-7 with a 4.66 ERA in 25 starts last year.

According to Naver Sports, the KBO’s Hanwha Eagles had interest in Stewart, who wanted to return to the U.S.

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