5 Baltimore Orioles key to team’s second-half success

BALTIMORE, MD - JULY 02: Kevin Gausman
BALTIMORE, MD - JULY 02: Kevin Gausman /
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1. Kevin Gausman, SP

If it is all about the rotation, then it’s only right that Kevin Gausman is the most valuable player in the second half of the Orioles season. One could argue Dylan Bundy should make the list, but I’m not sure how much he pitches in the second half, and he was decent in the first half. Not good, but decent.

Gausman was overall pretty bad. His 5.85 ERA is well above his career average of 4.30. His 63 earned runs allowed is the most in the American League.

The WHIP is 1.763 compared to a career average of 1.367. His hits per nine innings are 11.9, and his career average is 9.5.

His strikeouts/walk is almost a full point below his career average (1.93 to 2.92).

Gausman appeared to be turning it around before the All-Star Break. On June 27, he beat the Blue Jays with 5.1 IP 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 SO. On July 2, 7 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 9 SO.

But, then on July 7 against Minnesota, he went only four innings, allowing six runs on nine hits, but with seven strikeouts. So, the swing and miss stuff continues to be there, but he just can’t avoid bats.

I believe this is partly a loss of focus, something Gausman must work on.

When it comes to the Baltimore Orioles pushing toward contending in the second half, it depends on their big stars stepping up, and the pitching returning to form.

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I don’t know if these five players are going to fix their first half issues, but I can imagine that if they do, the Baltimore Orioles will be a playoff team by the end of 2017.