“You get beat some times and today we got beat,” center fielder Adam Jones said following the Orioles’ 10-3 loss to the Tigers. “It happens. But [Sunday] there’s a series to win and according to my calculations, if you win a lot of series you should put yourself in pretty good situations.”
The Orioles’ loss Saturday to Detroit was bizarre. And Orioles fans are probably still fuming about the events that led to right-hander Jason Hammel’s ejection in the fourth inning.
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As I wrote in today’s Baltimore Sun, it was apparent that Hammel wasn’t intentionally throwing at Matt Tuiasosopo. And yes, home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt probably jumped the gun in ejecting Hammel so quickly because it was obvious that Hammel was struggling with the feel for his pitches on a muggy Baltimore afternoon.
Hammel even said after the game that his lack of control was evidence enough that he didn't intentionally hit Tuiasosopo because he walked three in the first two innings, didn't display a shutdown pitch early and of course, allowed back-to-back-to-back homers.
At the same time, Wendelstendt acted quickly and definitively because he worried that if he hadn’t, there might be retribution. While Hammel didn’t deserve to be ejected, he was almost a sacrificial lamb so that another Orioles hitter wouldn’t get pelted and possibly injured.
Now the Orioles turn to rookie Kevin Gausman, who will make his third big league start on Sunday.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Saturday that he will give catcher Matt Wieters off Sunday, so backup Chris Snyder will catch Gausman. Before Saturday’s game, Snyder and Gausman were crowded around a computer screen in the Orioles video room going over film together.
This is a big start for Gausman. He has to start showing he can make adjustments at the big league level. The Orioles believe he can. They know Gausman had a track record of rebounding. He had a losing record at LSU as a freshman and became one of the best college pitchers as a sophomore. He struggled with leaving his fastball up in the zone in his first few starts in Double-A Bowie this season, but he made the adjustments there, too.
The Orioles could use a deep start from Gausman, especially after the bullpen had to account for six innings after Hammel’s ejection Saturday.
On Saturday, the Orioles signed reliever Jon Rauch to a minor league deal. Executive vice president Dan Duquette likes Rauch’s experience and said the club had some interest in acquiring him in the offseason.
Duquette said Saturday that the Orioles are taking a look at Rauch to see if he can help the major league team. And Rauch will be able to opt out of his deal within three weeks, according to an industry source, so the Orioles’ look at Rauch will be a short-term one. Think Freddy Garcia. So if Rauch can help the Orioles, it will be sooner rather than later.