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Orioles101 Mailbag: Kevin Gausman Questions Frequent; Closer’s Role a Focus

May 18th, 2014 at 6:30 AM
By Josh Michael

It's Sunday, and you know what that means, it's time for another edition of Orioles101 Mailbag and this week we were flooded with two main topics of questions, Kevin Gausman and the closer's role for the Baltimore Orioles.

'Kevin Gausman Pitching Windup - Baltimore Orioles' photo (c) 2013, Austin Kirk - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Again, we remind everyone that if we received multiple questions surrounding a single topic that we try to address all the questions on that topic with one answer, rather than answer each individual question and to avoid repeating ourselves.

So let's get to it.

What was the point of calling up Kevin Gausman for the start on Wednesday?

Easily the most frequently asked question, and we may never really know the true answer to this, but in the end it was quite obvious that it was a spot start in order to move Wei-Yin Chen back a day for extra rest. The bigger question is why Gausman, when he was pitching on short rest, coming off of a 77 pitch start the previous Saturday, which was a season high for pitches and the aforementioned Saturday start was his first since coming off the DL from pneumonia. Some have speculated that it was to showcase Gausman or Gonzalez (in a relievers role), for a possible trade, but we do not buy that. In the end it likely had to do with their options on the 40-man roster and calling up Gausman only required a 25-man roster move, which was optioning Preston Guilmet.

Who is the Orioles closer going forward?

Thursday was the first opportunity for an Orioles pitcher to close since Tommy Hunter blew his second consecutive save opportunity on Tuesday and we saw Zach Britton get the 1-2-3 save. Manager Buck Showalter has mentioned that he will look at the matchups when making the decision, so the answer could be that it will be closer by committee. We believe that it could more of a case where it is open auditions until someone grabs the role and runs with it, but only time will ultimately tell.

'Baltimore Orioles' photo (c) 2014, Keith Allison - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Is it realistic to believe that Matt Wieters will return to play this season?

Of course it is realistic to believe Wieters will return to play at some point this season, especially until we are told differently. Early this week Wieters was catching bullpens in order to "keep his legs in squatting shape" which is a good sign, at least to us it is. It would certainly lean you to believe that both he and the Orioles believe this period of rest for his elbow is going to work. Now on the flip side, it is tough to recall many cases where elbow and or forearm soreness simply goes away with rest, but keep in mind, it is much easier to remember the bad news events than it is the good news events, so it's possible that rest works more than we all realize.

Steve Lombardozzi has been playing some left field with the Norfolk Tides, are the Orioles looking for him to be the true fourth outfielder in lieu of David Lough?

We noticed that Lombardozzi has been getting some time in left field this week as well, and he continues to hit for a good average with the Norfolk Tides. It is certainly plausible that the Orioles are exploring the option of having Lombardozzi contribute to the big league club as a possible player in the outfield, especially given the fact that Lough has continued to struggle at the plate and is seeing more time as a defensive replacement than as a starter. Lombardozzi was hitting the ball well when he was optioned, and continues to do so at AAA, and with the Orioles offense struggling to find their consistency at the plate, we wouldn't count out Lombardozzi being recalled and seeing some time in the outfield, as long as he is not a major liability with the glove.

These questions were great, and we continue to urge each and every one of you to continue to send us your questions as the Orioles101 mailbag is here to stay!


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Tags: Baltimore, Baltimore Orioles, Baseball, David Lough, Kevin Gausman, Matt Wieters, MLB, Steve Lombardozzi, Tommy Hunter

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