Is Matt Wieters At Fault For Kevin Gausman’s Struggles?

Kevin Gausman‘s career in Major League Baseball hasn’t exactly gotten off the start we were all hoping to see. Through his first four outings, Gausman is 0-3 with a 8.84 ERA over 19.1 innings pitched. His 1.76 WHIP is much higher than the 0.99 he posted in the Eastern League and opponents are hitting .346 against the young righty.

Kevin GausmanGausman’s best start came on June 2 against that pesky Detroit Tigers lineup. The kid earned a no decision in his six innings of work, he surrendered just one earned run on five hits, walked none and struck out four. Interestingly enough, Chris Snyder caught Gausman in that start, while Matt Wieters has been behind home plate for the other three.

How long is it going to take for fans to start blaming Wieters’ pitch selection for Gausman’s subpar performances? Wait — I think they just did.

Out in St. Louis, the Cardinals promoted Michael Wacha, a right handed pitcher selected 19th overall in the 2012 MLB draft, on May 30. Wacha attended Texas A&M and made his debut for the Cards at age 21 with a 7 inning effort in which he surrendered just one earned run, handed out no free passes and struck out six against the Royals.

Many credited Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina for Wacha’s success in his first taste of the big leagues. This is a common trend in St. Louis. We hear a lot about Wieters’ game calling and defensive ability behind the plate in Baltimore. Why hasn’t Gausman seen the same sort of success as Wacha?

How much of an influence do these catchers really have on their young pitchers? Do Wieters and/or Molina really know enough about these young arms to call games effectively for them? Or are their successes or failures more a testament of how the pitcher works?

All interesting questions. I certainly believe that Wieters, like Molina, is an excellent game caller. I’ve only heard two dozen different Orioles pitchers mention it casually in various postgame interviews. The Gausman hasn’t been successful is simply because he hasn’t worked the lower third of the strikezone as effectively as he did against the Tigers. It doesn’t really matter who is behind the plate.

On Sunday, Evan Longoria hit a fastball in the middle of the zone for an RBI single in the first and Ben Zobrist drove in a run in the second on a belt-high 95 MPH pitch. Of the eight hits Gausman gave up on Saturday, only one was in the lower third of the zone according to my observations of the PITCHf/x data provided by BrooksBaseball.net.

Kevin Gausman PITCHf/x - June 8, 2013 vs. Rays

Is that Matt Wieters fault?

Look how effective he was down in the zone against the Tigers. Both double play balls were on pitches in the lower third, three of his five hits allowed were on pitches above.

Kevin Gausman PITCHf/x - June 2, 2013 vs. Tigers

It should be noted that Arizona’s offense touched Wacha up for six runs over 4.2 innings in his next outing. I don’t blame Molina for those numbers. Wacha is scheduled to pitch on Tuesday against the Mets in New York. If he keeps the ball down in the zone, I’m sure he’ll be just fine.

Zach Wilt is the Founding Editor of BaltimoreSportsReport.com and host of the BSR Podcast. He's a loyal Orioles, Ravens and Capitals fan who is obsessed with baseball, loves traveling, In-N-Out Burger and Walt Disney World.

9 Comments

  1. CurlyC

    June 9, 2013 at 7:17 am

    Wieters at fault? That’s silly! If anyone is at fault, it’s Buck and DD, for calling him up so early. Why, they’re using this young kid as a stopper! Ridiculous! Even Dylan Bundy last year didn’t get 4 starts when he was called up. Why the change-of-course with Buck and DD? I don’t get it.

  2. BobbyWoontz

    June 9, 2013 at 7:21 am

    Gausman needs to start eating his powdered donuts again between innings!

  3. 9inchnails

    June 9, 2013 at 11:41 am

    Gausman’s problems belong to Gausman not Wieters. That is the silliest thing I have read since Spy and Chow were married.

  4. Chow

    June 9, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    9inchman, why silly if Spy and Chow ty knot? Chow want 9inchman be best man fol Chow and Pole be best man fol Spy. Chow love site of he man Spy when Spy walk alound house eat celeal and have he tube top on and telly cloth sholts and hail bonnet. Like watch Losie O’Donnell walk alound house fol you othel guys.

    • 9inchnails

      June 9, 2013 at 1:53 pm

      I would love to be the best man but what about Mystery man, Dude and Jim from Dundalk? will they be jealous? Will Spy toss a bouquet of flowers or a Brendan Ayenbeyjo used jock strap?

  5. Jake Roberts

    June 9, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    Dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.

  6. Nick

    June 9, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    I read this as them defending Wieters as saying it’s NOT his fault.

    • Zach Wilt

      June 9, 2013 at 4:13 pm

      I am defending Wieters. Anyone who says otherwise just read the headline and commented without actually reading the article.

      • spy

        June 10, 2013 at 11:13 am

        This is your pat answer defense for all your critics,,,,,,,,,,just maybe they are right and you are wrong , just maybe your in depth writing isn’t that ‘in depth’,,,,,,,,,,,,,maybe you should read what you write and you would understand what some of these guys are saying to you , we all can learn from our critics , well except for critics like chowman……………………

        Zack , I enjoy reading your stuff but it can always be improved , you sometimes embellish on points that do not need such embellishment and sometimes you leave out details you believe everyone already knows but not everyone follows sports as closely as you do and some of us follow it more closely than you,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,just go with it and grow with it,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,( my girl friend told me that when she was fifteen , go with it and grow with it , boy I’m so glad I listened to her )she was a wise girl and smoking hot also…………………such memories………….by a dirty old man,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,”