ABERDEEN, Md. - Today at Ripken Stadium, Orioles 2012 first-round pick Kevin Gausman, will make his second pro start and first at home for the short-season Single-A Aberdeen IronBirds. Game time is 2:35 p.m.
Gausman pitched three perfect innings on Monday night at State College, retiring all nine batters he faced, two on strikeouts. He threw 31 pitches, 23 for strikes in that outing. He is expected to pitch just three innings today and in each of his outings the rest of this season.
The 21-year-old right-hander certainly had a strong outing on Monday in his pro debut.
“I couldn’t tell you if he can hold a runner because no runners got on base,” Aberdeen manager Gary Allenson said. “It’s hard to tell much from three innings. I really like to watch for how guys handle adversity when they struggle.
“But he’s got a good arm and he’s got good control. He whizzed right through State College. He struck out two and anything that was hit off him was a routine play. He threw strike one a lot.”
I asked Allenson if the Orioles have a specific plan for Gausman to try and work on all his pitches even when he is pitching just three innings.
“They want all starting pitchers to throw at least 10 percent changeups. He has a pretty good changeup, so that won’t be a problem for him,” Allenson said. “From the dugout on Monday, his changeup looked like a slider, it looked like it was going away from righties and he had good arm speed with it.”
The IronBirds are 22-31 after Saturday’s 3-1 loss to the Connecticut Tigers. Aberdeen has won just four series all year while losing 11 with two ties. The IronBirds are just 1-6 in home series.
Shortstop Joel Hutter went hitless last night to end a 13-game batting streak. Hutter, the Orioles’ 10th-round pick in June out of Dallas Baptist University, went 20-for-55 (.364) during the batting streak.
After today’s game, the New York-Penn League hits the All-Star break and Hutter and two teammates will play in Tuesday’s All-Star game. He’ll be joined on the team by outfielder Lucas Herbst and catcher Sam Kimmel.
Herbst, drafted in June in Round 26 out of Santa Clara, is batting .305 with a homer and 16 RBIs. Kimmel, an 18th-round pick out of Stetson, is batting .286 with a homer and 11 RBIs.
Aberdeen first baseman Christian Walker has been on the disabled list since Thursday with a back injury. He is expected to see a doctor in Baltimore on Tuesday and it sounds like there is a possibility that he won’t return to play this season.
Walker last played on Aug. 2 and in 22 IronBirds games is batting .284 with two homers, nine RBIs and a .796 OPS. He was also selected for the All-Star game, but obviously will be unable to play.
Check back here this afternoon for coverage of Gausman’s home debut and you can follow my updates from Aberdeen today also on Twitter @masnsteve.
Here is today’s Aberdeen lineup:
CF - Anthony Vega
RF - Lucas Herbst
2B - Creede Simpson
SS - Joel Hutter
1B - Cameron Edman
DH - Torsten Boss
LF - Will Howard
C - Scott Kalush
3B - Anthony Caronia