Orioles notes and observations (Machado, Gausman, McFarland, bullpen decision)

June 29, 2013|By Dan Connolly | The Baltimore Sun

Third baseman Manny Machado’s decision to tag up on a ball hit to left center with two outs in the sixth Friday went against conventional wisdom.

How many times have you heard growing up playing baseball did you hear the adage, “Don’t make the first or last out at third base?”

Well, Machado heard it, too. But he was watching center fielder Brett Gardner, who was flat-footed, meaning Gardner wasn’t completely set to unleash a throw immediately.

“I saw him camping under the ball and in that situation there, you really don’t want to tag up especially with the ball in left center field,” Machado said. “But he camped up and I thought I had a pretty good shot at it and I went for it…. It’s a do or die play. Something that Buck allows us to do is play our game. If you have a shot for it, go for it.”

After the game, Showalter – who is about as old-school baseball as you’ll find in certain situations – echoed those sentiments.

“If you always become a prisoner to the book ...,” Showalter said. “I tell guys all the time, if you feel something, you've got a good feel, go for it. And I got the other part of it after it's over, but I'm going to be upset if you feel something and don't go for it. That's the type of intelligent recklessness you have to have.”

So add “intelligent recklessness” to Machado’s quickly expanding game.

Kevin Gausman is going to be a good major league pitcher; that seems nearly inevitable.  But this is all a learning experience for him.

And he learned something Friday after he threw 4 1/3 scoreless innings.

When Nate McLouth homered in the bottom of the seventh to give the Orioles a 4-3 lead, Gausman was concentrating on the game. He didn’t realize that it made him the pitcher of record. And when the Orioles held onto the lead, the 22-year-old didn’t initially realize that he had earned his first big league win.

“I didn’t really know if (a credited win) had to be the same inning or if you had to throw a pitch after that or anything,” Gausman said. “But then after people started congratulating me, then I said, ‘Oh. That’s the way it is.’”

Gausman chuckled while telling the story. Gotta love rookies.

Here’s a weird little twist for you: Gausman got his first big league win in fellow rookie T.J. McFarland’s first big-league start. McFarland picked up his first big league win on June 13 in relief of Gausman (in Gausman’s fifth major league start).

McFarland lasted just 2 2/3 innings Friday, givingup seven hits, one walk and three earned runs against the New York Yankees. Not exactly the debut start he was anticipating. But don’t think that’s his last start with the Orioles this year.

The club loves this kid, his competitiveness and the way he pitches to contact. He may not get another start the next time around – an off-day Monday and Wei-Yin Chen’s likely return Thursday will allow the Orioles to shuffle things in the rotation – but he’ll get another shot at some point. I’m pretty sure about that.

Last thing: Yes, Tommy Hunter got the two-inning save Friday. Yes, Brian Matusz was warming up in the ninth and not Jim Johnson. No matter.

Johnson is still the Orioles’ closer. He pitched three consecutive games from Monday to Wednesday and, though he told Showalter he was available Friday, Showalter told Johnson before the game that he was going to stay off of him.

No controversy here.

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