Kevin Gausman, Shohei Ohtani set for marquee Giants-Angels matchup

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Gausman's All-Star push continues with big Ohtani showdown originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Kevin Gausman has a 1.51 ERA through 14 starts and is on pace to approach 250 strikeouts. He grew up in the Denver area and spent years going to games at Coors Field, home of this year's MLB All-Star Game. Gausman has a great story, too, as a former No. 4 overall draft pick who bounced around before turning into an ace with the Giants as he approached his 30th birthday.

In a world without Jacob deGrom, Gausman would be an easy pick to start for the NL next month. This is a world where deGrom is putting up historic numbers, though, and even Gausman has found himself watching. 

"I think his numbers kind of speak for themselves," Gausman said after his last start. "If he's healthy and can keep doing what he's doing, he definitely, absolutely is going to start the All-Star Game. If he keeps giving up no runs every time he pitches, he's going to start the All-Star Game. He's just that dominant. It's pretty crazy when you have major league guys that are making sure they're watching his starts, that's how crazy it is. He's just one of the most respected guys in the game.

"It would be great to start the All-Star Game, but that's a long way away -- we've got a lot of games and a lot of starts until we get there."

Gausman's start Wednesday should give him a chance to make more national news after two months that have mostly gone under the radar. He wasn't even included in a "Cy Young candidates" graphic that MLB put out in May, but he ended up being named pitcher of the month in May, and he has kept the momentum going. He has the lowest ERA for a Giants starter through 14 starts, and on Wednesday he'll face a pitcher putting up historic two-way numbers for the Los Angeles Angels. 

Gausman vs. Shohei Ohtani might be the matchup of the season thus far for the Giants, and they have the edge, despite the fact that Ohtani has a 2.70 ERA in his 10 starts. That's how good Gausman has been, and his incredible start should allow him to feel pretty comfortable in lining up mid-July travel to Denver. He has become an ace in San Francisco and has started to open eyes elsewhere. 

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"Gausman has kind of reinvented himself," Angels manager Joe Maddon said Tuesday. "I saw him early on in Baltimore and he's done a nice job of adding that (splitter) along with his velocity. And of course Shohei continues to get better. It's going to be an interesting day, and good for us and for baseball.

"It's a good moment for baseball and we need more good moments for baseball."

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