How will the Orioles use Kevin Gausman in the playoffs?

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Kevin Gauzman has been fantastic for the Orioles, posting a 3.57 ERA with just five homers allowed in 18 starts as a 23-year-old rookie, including a 3.26 ERA and 78/35 K/BB ratio in 99 innings since his rough season debut.

And yet tonight against the Red Sox he might be pitching to determine his postseason role, as Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com indicates that the Orioles haven’t decided if Gausman will start or relieve in the playoffs.

Gausman has been exclusively a starter in the minors and majors this season, but he did make 15 appearances out of the Orioles’ bullpen last year while racking up 29 strikeouts in 23 innings as a reliever.

Gausman is probably at worst the Orioles’ third-best starter and there’s certainly an argument to be made that he’s their best starter, but Baltimore does have four other decent rotation options (basically everyone except for Ubaldo Jimenez) and they may think Gausman can make a huge late-inning impact if going for an inning or two at a time allows him to throw even harder than his average of 94.8 miles per hour as a starter.

Carlos Carrasco pitches during game action

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Indians starter Carlos Carrasco was diagnosed with leukemia earlier this summer. He’d been out since June. Despite that diagnosis, he and the Indians insisted that he would make every effort to come back this year. Yesterday he took a big step in that direction, making his first rehab appearance at Double-A Akron.

He only tossed one inning, walking one batter and striking out another. He thew 16 pitches but cranked it up to 97 with his first offering. Not too shabby.

It’s unclear what the timetable is for him returning to Cleveland. If they intend to use him as a starter again he’ll obviously need several more appearances to get stretched out. If he’s to be used as a reliever, fewer obviously. What his stamina level is and will be is also an open question.

However that gets sorted out, it’s good so have him back in action.