Despite failing to live up to the hype in his big league debut, prized prospect Kevin Gausman appears to be headed in the right direction.
Hoping to deliver a better performance, Gausman and the visiting Baltimore Orioles face a Washington Nationals team that is likely to be without Bryce Harper again Tuesday night.
Selected No. 4 overall in the 2012 draft, Gausman (0-1, 7.20 ERA) compiled a 3.11 ERA while striking out 49 and walking five over eight starts spanning 46 1-3 innings with Double-A Bowie this season. The 22-year-old right-hander, though, had a rough go Thursday after being called up, allowing four runs and seven hits over five innings in a 12-6 loss at Toronto.
"Definitely a learning experience for me, but it was awesome," he told MLB's official website. "It was everything I could have imagined and more. I've been waiting my entire life for this. I haven't been able to sleep very much lately. That was something that was kind of great to get out of the way."
Despite a lackluster line, Gausman, who hit as high as 99 mph on the stadium gun, received high praise from Blue Jays manager John Gibbons.
"He had some good composure. It looked like he belonged out there," Gibbons said. "For a debut, I thought he did a heck of a job. It looks like he'll have a bright future - he's got a great arm."
Hoping to build on last week's effort, Gausman is eager to get back on the mound.
"There is a big difference between Double-A and the big leagues with how smart hitters are," he said. "I feel like my stuff played here at this level. I'm just trying to get better every time I go out there. I feel good, I feel healthy and everything is coming out of my hand really well."
Gausman could catch a break with Harper expected to be held out for a second consecutive day. Leading the Nationals with 12 homers, Harper missed Monday's 6-2 loss due to bursitis in his left knee.
That defeat was the sixth in nine games for Washington (26-25), which had no answer for Baltimore's red-hot bats. Yamaico Navarro and Nick Markakis both drove in a pair of runs, and Manny Machado collected three more hits as the Orioles (28-23) posted their fifth win in seven games.
"I can't tell you how proud I am of everybody," said manager Buck Showalter, whose club lost the previous day to Toronto after blowing a three-run, ninth-inning lead.
Tied with Detroit's Miguel Cabrera for the major league lead with 75 hits, Machado has batted .450 in his last 17 road contests with three homers, 16 runs and 11 RBIs. He's hit safely in 28 of 33 overall, posting 18 multihit efforts.
Losers in six of eight versus Baltimore, the Nationals try to regroup behind 25-year-old Nate Karns after placing scheduled starter Ross Detwiler on the disabled list.
Getting called up from Double-A Harrisburg for his big league debut, Karns has gone 4-2 with a 4.60 ERA over nine starts this year while striking out 55 in 45 innings.
Besides being cautious with Machado, Karns will need to be wary of Markakis and Adam Jones. Batting .377 with two homers and 11 RBIs during a 12-game hitting streak, Markakis is hitting .391 in his last 15 games against the Nationals. Jones, who had two hits but saw his career-high four-game home run streak snapped Monday, is a career .384 hitter versus Washington.
The Orioles and Nationals play two more games in Baltimore following this contest.