As was the case when Jose Ramirez squared off with Binghamton’s Rafael Montero earlier this month, the focus was on the pitching matchup tonight, and Ramirez was involved once again. Ramirez and Kevin Gausman made up both sides of the most recent installment of “best pitching matchup you’ll see all year,” and neither disappointed.
Ramirez: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 1 HR (79/52)
Gausman: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 10 K (90/60)
Gausman, the fourth overall pick in 2012, was particularly outstanding. There was a lot to like about the 22-year-old righty; from the way he was able to reach back for a little extra on his fastball when he needed it (he sat at 95-96 MPH, but reached back for 98 on several strikeouts, and hit 99 on occasion) and made some serious adjustments the second time through the order, relying on his offspeed pitches a lot more.
“I felt good,” said Gausman after the game.
“I didn’t really mix in many sliders, probably because they have so many lefthanded hitters in their lineup. My strength is fastball, changeup and going into the game, I knew I was going to throw a lot of changeups to their lefthanded hitters. That was the pitch for me the entire night, and I threw it to their righthanded hitters too. I think that was something they really weren’t expecting. I had great fastball command too on both sides of the plate. It was just one of those nights.”
The offense against each man is relatively easy to recap. In the bottom of the second, Slade Heathcott laced a triple to left center off of Gausman, and scored one batter later when, after Ali Castillo hit a little chopper in front of the plate, Heathcott sprinted home after the throw went to first base.
Ramirez gave up a long solo home run to Caleb Joseph, brother of former Thunder infielder Corban Joseph, in the fourth inning.
That’s about it.
“He’s great. Going into the game, I didn’t know anything about him,” said Gausman of Ramirez. “This is my first year in pro ball, so all these guys that I face — they tell me I’m facing this and that, I didn’t really know anything about him. But obviously, he’s got the velocity there. He was throwing a lot of strikes and getting a lot of strikeouts with his changeup and slider. It’s good when you have three pitches you can work in like that.”
The game was decided in the sixth inning, after Ramirez was out of the game. With Danny Burawa pitching in relief, he induced a hard groundball to second baseman Casey Stevenson…Stevenson couldn’t make the play, a run scored and that was that. Gausman pitched the sixth, got the win, and walked away with a lot of new admirers. But even with that said, and with expectations that he could help the Orioles as early as later on this season, he realizes there’s still a lot to work on before he gets there.
“To be honest, I’m not really expecting anything too soon,” he said. “I’m just trying to go out there and compete and win ballgames. Coming into the game, I was 1-4. To me, I had some good stats and stuff like that, but I never want to have a losing record…going forward, I always want to pitch well enough for my team to win. I just want to try to have fun, and enjoy pitching in places I’ve never been before.”
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com