Baltimore Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman hit the nail on the head while summing up his performance in April. “Not very good,” Gausman told the Baltimore Sun ahead of his final start of the month on Friday as the Orioles begin a six-game road trip with the first of three contests against the New York Yankees.
“Pretty frustrating, especially being the guy who they gave the ball to Opening Day,” Gausman told reporters. “It seems like everybody else is really throwing the (heck) out of the ball really well right now. And I’m kind of scuffling along. I’ll figure it out. …. But obviously, my first five starts are not very good.” The American League East-leading Orioles took two of three from Tampa Bay this week to improve to 6-2 in their last eight overall while boasting a 12-5 mark against their division foes. New York improved to 7-4 versus the East after sweeping a rain-shorted two-game series against Boston on Thursday, with Starlin Castro capping the scoring with an RBI single. The 27-year-old Dominican has hit safely in 15 of his last 17 contests, including an RBI single among his two hits against Gausman on April 8.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Orioles RH Kevin Gausman (1-2, 7.50 ERA) vs. Yankees LH CC Sabathia (2-1, 2.70)
Gausman’s season has taken a turn for the worse with back-to-back rough outings, as the 26-year-old surrendered eight runs on as many hits over 2 2/3 innings of 9-3 setback at Cincinnati on April 18 before getting ravaged by Boston in a four-run first inning on Sunday. Gausman yielded three homers against the Red Sox and four over his last two games after keeping the ball in the park in his first three contests. Gausman sports an impressive 6-3 career mark with a 2.24 ERA versus New York, although he was fortunate to walk away with a no-decision on April 8 after permitting four runs on eight hits in 4 2/3 innings.
Sabathia sustained his first setback of the season after allowing a pair of homers and four runs total over five innings in a 6-3 loss at Pittsburgh on Friday. The 36-year-old kept the ball in the park in his last encounter with Baltimore, but four walks elevated his pitch count as he settled for a no-decision on April 9. J.J. Hardy had an RBI single in that contest and is batting .326 in 43 career at-bats versus Sabathia, although the hurler has kept Jonathan Schoop (5-for-22) under wraps.
1. New York SS Didi Gregorius is expected to make his season debut after sustaining a right shoulder injury at the World Baseball Classic.
2. Baltimore (14-6) is eight games over .500 despite only sporting a plus-9 run differential.
3. Yankees INF Ronald Torreyes is 10-for-23 during his six-game hitting streak and went 5-for-11 with four RBIs in the first series with the Orioles.
PREDICTION: Orioles 4, Yankees 3