BALTIMORE — Kevin Gausman has been trying to find his way since the beginning of the season for the Baltimore Orioles, and he will get another chance to do so when he starts Saturday night against the Toronto Blue Jays in the middle game of a three-game series.
Gausman (2-3, 7.19 ERA) started on Opening Day with Chris Tillman on the disabled list but has struggled throughout the first part of this season.
The right-hander already has allowed seven homers in 41 1/3 innings and gave up five runs in 3 1/3 innings last Sunday at Kansas City but came away with a no-decision.
Gausman has a 3-3 record with a 3.99 ERA against Toronto in his career. The troubles that Gausman has experienced so far have been puzzling as he pitched strongly in the second half of last year, helping the Orioles make the playoffs.
Mike Bolsinger (0-2, 6.10) will be making his third start this season. He also a rough time in his last outing, allowing six runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings, taking the loss this past Monday in Atlanta.
This will be his first career appearance against the Orioles (24-16).
Both teams’ bullpens stayed busy Friday as the game went through two rain delays, including one in the 10th inning, so a good effort from the starters would help the Blue Jays (18-25) and the Orioles.
Baltimore now has seven pitchers in its bullpen after going with six for a while, and manager Buck Showalter is happy with that.
“We finally got back to seven down there, which means a lot,” Showalter said. “(With) bullpens, you’re one or two short starts away from … having to make some adjustments. We’ve got some good pieces available if we need them.”
Baltimore had a few nagging injuries that caused Showalter to hold up on his lineup card before the Friday game. Manny Machado (sore finger) returned, but Seth Smith (ball hit his cheek below eye) was held out of the series opener, although he could have pinch hit late, Showalter said.
Smith was injured in the finale of the series in Detroit on Thursday when a ball he hit bounced back up and banged off the cheek.
The Blue Jays continue to deal with a large number of injuries. Darrell Ceciliani was put on the 10-day disabled list (left shoulder) after injuring himself hitting a home run on Thursday in Atlanta.
Toronto called up outfielder Anthony Alford to replace Ceciliani. Alford made his major league debut in the game, playing left field and batting eighth.
Toronto now has 10 players on the 10- or 60-day disabled list so far this season, as injuries have hurt the team in the first two months this season.
Despite all of those problems, the Jays led for much of the game before the Orioles rallied for a 5-3 victory. The Blue Jays scored all of their runs in the fourth, and manager John Gibbons gambled on a suicide squeeze with a runner on third and one out against starter Chris Tillman. But it did not work and Toronto did not score again.
“They’ve got the infield in … take a chance,” Gibbons said. “Figured they’d throw him a strike. I don’t know if that was the game, but it would’ve helped.”