SARASOTA, Fla. -- Before he was officially told, Kevin Gausman had an inkling that he may be the Orioles' Opening Day starter. After all, his spring starts lined up perfectly with the start of the season."That's kind of what I told [manager] Buck [Showalter]," Gausman said. "He asked me, 'What
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Before he was officially told, Kevin Gausman had an inkling that he may be the Orioles' Opening Day starter. After all, his spring starts lined up perfectly with the start of the season.
"That's kind of what I told [manager] Buck [Showalter]," Gausman said. "He asked me, 'What did you think about this? Did you see this coming?' I was like, 'Well, I'm not that bad at math. I can figure that out.'"
Still, the 26-year-old, who was officially tabbed on Monday to be Baltimore's Opening Day starter, didn't want to get too excited for the April 3 opener against the Blue Jays.
"I didn't want to get myself too amped up for it and then be disappointed," Gausman said.
"[I'm] very honored. I think it's something special. There's not many people who can say they started Opening Day, so I'm very happy."
Dylan Bundy will start the second game against Toronto, and the O's are expected to finalize the order for the next two spots -- Ubaldo Jimenez and Wade Miley -- after Miley throws on Tuesday.
"We had some options to pick from," Showalter said. "We just thought Kevin was the best equipped in a lot of different areas.
"We got the month of April mapped out, just need to plug in [starters] three and four. Got an idea of who five will be, just got to figure out how we are going to set it up a little bit."
In lieu of Chris Tillman, who is sidelined with a right shoulder injury, Gausman's selection doesn't come as a surprise. He's had a fantastic spring and emerged last season as a consistent option for a rotation that often struggled to go deep into games.
"Kevin is a guy we think can help us put our best foot forward. We had some other guys to pick from, but we think he's primed to be as good as he's capable of being this year," Showalter said. "We want to take advantage of that."
Gausman, who will be on his second Opening Day roster, went 9-12 with a 3.61 ERA in 30 starts in 2016. The right-hander pitched to a 3.10 ERA in the second half, going 8-6 down the stretch.
He's also had an impressive spring, going five scoreless innings on March 19 in his most recent Grapefruit League appearance, striking out eight while lowering his spring ERA to 1.80.
"I think I'll be pretty amped up [for the opener]," Gausman admitted. "It'll probably be the hardest [pitch] I've thrown since last year. That's one of those things you've got to kind of feed off it. It's Opening Day. Sometimes in the regular season, you've got to calm yourself down. But Opening Day, throw all your cards on the table and here we go."
The Orioles' first-round pick (fourth overall) out of Louisiana State University in 2012, Gausman is 23-31 with a 3.97 ERA in 95 games (72 starts) in parts of four Major League seasons.
"[He's changed] a lot," Showalter said of Gausman the past few seasons. "He's got a feel for when to charge and when not to charge, when to slow guys down, when not to slow guys down. He's more of a complete pitcher, instead of a guy who just throws 97, 98 [mph]. You see him go get it when he needs it. ... He looks at a start as hopefully a long one, and he uses his bullets appropriately.
"This guy has a good feel for the big leagues. … He's learned a lot of things about how to pitch when he's not carrying his best stuff. He's a trustworthy guy now."
Gausman began last season on the disabled list, but he started the O's second game of the 2015 season.
Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.