Former Orioles assistant coach Alan Dunn sits in the dugout for the Purple-Gold World Series, but the LSU pitching coach isn’t the one making mound visits. That task falls to a current Oriole: Purple team pitching coach and former LSU great Kevin Gausman, who sat down for an interview with The Advocate after Game 2 on Thursday.
Game 3, which was rescheduled after a forecast of inclement weather on Friday, will start at 6:30 p.m. Monday at Alex Box Stadium.
“How do you like this whole pitching coach thing?”
Gausman: “It’s cool. It’s the first time I’ve done it. It’s a different side of the game, especially right now, I have to keep track of how many pitches they throw and stuff like that, I’m not really used to that.
“It’s pretty cool just to be out here and see these guys play. The last couple of years, I really haven’t been able to follow the team just because I haven’t really known anybody. It’s nice to put a name to the face and stuff like that.”
“You yo-yoed between the minors and majors in your first two seasons. This season, you were up with the big league club for almost the entire season and spent all of the final few months in the Orioles rotation. Does that help stabilitywise in your transition to being a big leaguer?”
“I have parts of three seasons in the big leagues now, and I kind of feel like I’m kind of getting established. Obviously, I don’t feel too established yet. Still young, still 24.
“But, yeah, I feel good where I’m at. I like the organization I’m with, they’ve treated me pretty well.
“That’s kind of the plan when you leave (LSU), that’s your next goal: to get to the big leagues and like last season, being in the playoffs (with the Orioles). When I was here, it was all about the College World Series. And when you get to the next level, it’s all about getting to the World Series.”
“What was your biggest eye-opener or biggest adjustment in facing major league hitters?”
“The biggest thing for me, the biggest jump was getting used to pitching every fifth day compared to every week, once a week. That took me a while to get used to.
“Those guys are great, but at the same time, you’re going to make bad pitches, and they’re going to get themselves out.
“It’s baseball, it’s the same game, and that’s what you have to tell yourself. At that level, the game’s just a lot faster. If you lose focus, you can look up and you can give up four runs in an inning pretty quickly. You definitely have to be focused the whole game.”
“You threw against the Mets twice this season. When you faced them, did you think that was a team capable of reaching a World Series?”
“They were probably the hottest team in baseball when I faced them, and they came out swinging. I think the second pitch of the game (Curtis) Granderson hit a home run off me, and he ended up hitting another one later in the game off me. Obviously a very good hitting team, and when they have young arms like that who pitched that well in the postseason, it was fun to watch.
“They’re definitely a good team, but it’ll be interesting to see what they’re going to do going forward. They have a lot of young guys but also some key veteran guys that will be interesting to see who they re-sign and whatnot.”
“Do you still have your powdered doughnut ritual between innings?”
“No not anymore. Actually (Orioles vice president of baseball operations) Brady Anderson told me not to do it anymore. He was like ‘Hey, we probably shouldn’t do that, it’s not college anymore.’”