The Orioles have reached the halfway point of their season with a 40-41 record. The O’s were pretty much a .500 team in the second half of last year after finishing their first 81 games with a 47-34 record. The positive is they can easily go on a run and make the playoffs again, but the negative is for the last 162 games, they have been an average baseball team.
The struggling Wade Miley will look to bounce back with the O’s heading to Milwaukee to take on the Brewers to start the final week of the first half.
Gausman Finally Pitching Well
After struggling for much of the season, Kevin Gausman is finally looking like the pitcher that finished the 2016 campaign strong and entered 2017 with so much promise. I don’t know if it’s because he moved his position on the rubber or if he has more feel for his pitches like his split-fingered fastball, but the results have been encouraging. I don’t accept his reasoning of just getting better as the season progresses. If that is the case, then he needs to change his workouts in the off-season to make sure he’s ready.
I will point out that he has thrown his splitter at least 19 percent of the time in his last four starts with a season high 28.6 percent against the Rays Sunday, when he was lights out. However, like with most pitchers, it’s all about getting ahead of hitters and Gausman threw first pitch strikes 68% of the time against the Rays. If the Orioles are going to be more cautious with Dylan Bundy in the second half, they need Gausman to continue to pitch like he has over his last three starts.
Update on First Two 2016 Draft Picks
This is why organizations stock pile arms, as health is always a risk. The O’s 2016 first-round selection Cody Sedlock has been shut down due to a flexor strain in his right forearm. We have been down this path before multiple times over the years with the most recent including Bundy and Hunter Harvey. Obviously, we hope for the best, but we usually know the eventual outcome with injuries like this.
On the flip side, it appears their second-round selection in that same draft has started to pitch like the organization envisioned. Outside of allowing six earned runs in his first start of the season and seven earned runs on May 22, left-hander Keegan Akin has not allowed more than three earned runs in his other starts for the Frederick Keys. This also includes not allowing more than two earned runs in his last six starts with four of those starts being shutouts.
Akin has a 3.51 ERA on the season and during what has been an organization-wide disappointment in pitching, Akin has at least separated himself from the pack.
Orioles Trade Two More International Slots
There really isn’t much more to say about the Orioles philosophy when it comes to international spending as the local and national media has addressed the issue. It makes no sense, especially when I’m reading about the other teams in the American League East being active. I don’t get it, but I hope the strategy works in the long-term. I don’t think it will, but I find it incredibly ironic that their lone All-Star in 2017 is a player they acquired internationally.