Kevin Gausman has shown steady progress during the early portion of the season. The Baltimore Orioles hope that trend continues against the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday.
The 27-year-old right-hander has started three times this season. He gave up six runs in four innings while losing his first start against Minnesota. He took a no-decision while giving up two runs in five innings to the New York Yankees five days later, then recorded his first win April 11. He allowed three runs in six innings against Toronto while striking out a season-high seven batters.
"He's gotten better," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "The conditions, whether it's catching the ball, hitting the ball, throwing the ball, you've got to give guys a little pass right now. It's hard. Kevin's going to be fine. He's given us a chance to win."
Gausman (1-1, 6.60 ERA) will oppose left-hander Matthew Boyd in the second contest of a three-game series at Detroit's Comerica Park. The game has been changed to an afternoon start with inclement weather in the forecast later in the day and both sides hoping to avoid a postponement.
Gausman made six starts against Detroit in past seasons, going 1-1 with a 4.11 ERA.
Detroit (5-9) won the first game of the series 4-2 on Tuesday to snap a five-game losing streak. The Tigers hadn't played since Friday because of postponements and a scheduled day off.
"We've been ready to play, man," utility man Niko Goodrum said. "It was tough having three straight days not playing. It felt good getting back on the field."
Showalter has been using makeshift lineups because of injuries. Designated hitter Mark Trumbo (quad), second baseman Jonathan Schoop (oblique) and outfielder Colby Rasmus (hip) are on the 10-day disabled list and won't play in the series.
Baltimore (5-12), which has lost four straight, elevated Luis Sardinas from Triple-A and started him at second base Tuesday. Sardinas went 0-for-3 with a walk and was robbed of an extra-base hit by Goodrum in left field.
Boyd (0-1, 1.38 ERA) has made two quality starts this season. In his last start, he held Cleveland's powerful lineup to one run on three hits in seven innings but wound up with a no-decision. That outing came April 10 and postponements have delayed his subsequent start.
"You've got to figure out a second time to throw in-between," manager Ron Gardenhire said of the gap. "They can adjust."
Boyd's breaking pitches have been especially tough to hit. He hasn't given up a hit on a changeup or curveball and he's held opponents to a .100 average on his sliders.
"I just focus on hitting the glove," Boyd told the Detroit News. "I focus on changing speeds. My goal is to hit my spots right now and change speeds on all my pitches -- add and subtract with all my pitches and keep hitters off-balance."
Boyd made two starts against the Orioles last season and didn't get a decision while posting a 13.50 ERA. He's 7-9 with a 4.28 ERA in 29 career appearances at Comerica Park.
Dating back to last season, Boyd has a 2.09 ERA in his last six starts.