Right-hander Kevin Gausman will make his Toronto Blue Jays debut Saturday afternoon when he starts against the visiting Texas Rangers.
Gausman, who signed as a free agent in the offseason, is impressed by his new team and its desire to win.
“The guys, we all bought in, we want not just to win but to be the last team standing,” Gausman said on Friday afternoon. “You’ve got to be really excited right now if you’re a Blue Jays fan. Not just because of the talent, but because of the way these guys play. They’re hungry and they want to win.”
He saw first-hand Friday night how the Blue Jays’ offense can strike. After falling behind 7-0 to the Rangers in the season opener, the Blue Jays came back for a 10-8 victory.
The Blue Jays finished fourth in the American League East last season with 91 wins and are expected to contend for a World Series championship this season.
Gausman, who was 14-6 (2.81 ERA) with the San Francisco Giants last season, admits that he will feel some nerves before the game on Saturday.
“It’s just a lot of firsts,” Gausman said. “My first time in this clubhouse was two days ago. My first time pitching with my new team. I’m definitely going to have some first day jitters but I’m going to feed off the adrenalin and go out there and compete.”
Gausman is 3-2 with a 2.83 ERA in seven career outings (six starts) against the Rangers.
The Blue Jays would appreciate a longer outing from Gausman than they had from their starter on Friday, Jose Berrios, who allowed four runs in one-third of an inning.
Gausman will face right-hander Dane Dunning, who earned the win in his Rangers debut April 6, 2021, against the Blue Jays. He allowed one run, three hits and no walks while striking out six in five innings. He allowed a home run to Bo Bichette. Dunning was 5-10 with a 4.51 ERA overall last season.
The Rangers lost 102 games last season, but manager Chris Woodward, a former Blue Jays infielder, said he likes the way the team is progressing.
Shortstop Corey Seager and second baseman Marcus Semien were the Rangers’ most expensive free-agent signings. Seager was 2-for-4 with a walk on Friday. Semien, who played last season for the Blue Jays, was 0-for-4 with a walk.
“I truly believe the blueprint is here; we will win,” Woodward said. “But we just cannot let up. We have a staff that’s resilient, that’s relentless. We have a playing group that’s resilient and relentless. We have a front office and ownership that is the same. All the pieces are there. Now we just have got to go do it.”
It looked good early in the game for the Rangers. A two-run homer by Mitch Garver gave them a 6-0 lead in the second and they added a run in the fourth before the Blue Jays went to work. Teoscar Hernandez tied the game at 7 with a three-run homer in the fifth inning.
Woodward expects better results than last season.
“Now, we’ve got to go win,” Woodward said. “But we’re in a situation now where I can stare our guys directly in the eyes and say: ‘We’re going to win.’ And there is belief in that clubhouse that is going to do it.”
–Field Level Media