It was a light day in baseball on Thursday, as the Yankees and Mets were both off.
The Yankees send David Phelps to the mound tonight as they start a series in St. Pete against the Rays.
It’ll be Jeremy Hefner against Kris Medlen as the Mets begin a series at home against Atlanta (weather permitting, I suppose).
Of the five games yesterday, there was one debut of note.
Baltimore called up 22-year-old Kevin Gausman from Double-A to start against Toronto. Gausman took the loss, allowing four runs on seven hits over five innings. Toronto won the game, 12-6.
Gausman, who was picked No. 4 overall in the 2012 draft out of Louisiana State, only made 13 career starts in the minors. He was well-groomed in a strong college program and can throw his fastball in the mid- to upper-90s. The Orioles had 11 different starting pitchers through their first 47 games, so it’s no surprise that they called on Gausman so soon. If he can deliver as promised and Dylan Bundy, the No. 4 pick in the 2011 draft, comes back strong from an elbow injury, the Orioles might finally put up a strong rotation to go along with their hard-hitting offense.
Thursday, Gausman averaged – averaged! – 97.3 MPH on his fastball. He peaked at 99.5 MPH. He only got three swings-and-misses on the 63 fastballs he threw. Gausman got four whiffs on his changeup (average speed: 84.25), which he threw just 15 times.
The Yankees next play Baltimore the last three days of June, but the Bombers are likely to run into Mr. Gausman many times over the next few years.
In Mets news…Jeremy Hefner enters tonight’s start with an 0-5 record and a 5.00 ERA. He’s actually been much better than his record would indicate, as the bullpen has blown a bunch of games in which he’s pitched.
In his first start of the season, Hefner allowed one run on five hits over six innings…and lost. Miami scored five runs in the top of the seventh and the Mets could never recover.
Hefner suffered a similar fate later in April, going eight innings, walking none, striking out eight and allowing two runs on four hits…and lost. The Mets managed just one run in that 2-1 loss to the Marlins.
Hefner has three no-decisions. He’s allowed three runs or fewer in each of those games, but the Mets still couldn’t help him out with the bats.
Really, only two of Hefner’s starts could be classified as “poor.” He allowed five runs in three innings in a 7-3 loss to the Phillies in early April. In his last start, he gave up four runs over four innings at Wrigley field in a loss.
Still, the Mets have scored a grand total of 25 runs in Hefner’s eight stats this season. They’ve lost every game he’s started.
Hefner’s allowed 42 hits in 45 innings and has nearly a 2:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio (30:18). He has allowed eight home runs this season, but two of those came in a one-inning relief appearance during the crazy snow week of doubleheaders in Colorado.
The Mets have played poorly when Hefner has started this season, but it hasn’t quite been Hefner’s fault. Still, he’ll need to keep the ball in the park tonight against a homer-happy Braves lineup.
Elsewhere in baseball…
- Cleveland beat the Red Sox, 12-3. Indians skipper Terry Francona made his return to Fenway Park after spending the 2012 season in the broadcast booth.
- The Angels scored all of their runs via the home run in a 5-4 win at Kansas City. Joe Blanton (1-7, 6.19 ERA) won his first game of the year.
- Edwin Jackson fell to 1-7 as the Pirates two runs in the first and two more in the second in a 4-2 victory over the Cubs.
- Justin Masterson follows in Francona’s footsteps as he’ll also face his former team tonight in Boston. John Lackey pitches for the Red Sox.
- John Danks makes his season debut for the White Sox against the Marlins at home in Chicago. Danks made just nine starts in 2012 before being shut down for shoulder surgery.
- The Rangers play the Mariners at Safeco Field in a late game. Seattle sent catcher Jesus Montero to Triple-A after he struggled to hit in the early part of the season. With super prospect Mike Zunino also in Triple-A, look for Montero to shift to a DH/first base role full time.
- Jordan Zimmermann, who’s been quietly great to the tune of 7-2 with a 1.62 ERA, goes for the Nats against the Phillies.
- A.J. Burnett pitches for the Pirates against the Brewers, who are already 11 1/2 games back in the NL Central. Pittsburgh is tied with Cincy at 1 1/2 games behind St. Louis.
- Speaking of the Cardinals, they send Lance Lynn to the mound at Chavez Ravine against former Mets starter Chris Capuano and the Dodgers. LA is six games out in the NL West…and manager Don Mattingly might be the fall guy if the Dodgers don’t turn it around soon.