Orioles leaning on Gausman to boost rotation

BALTIMORE — The Orioles are hoping their rotation can be better in 2017. Kevin Gausman is a big reason why.

Gausman took a big step forward in the second half of last season, going 8-6 with a 3.10 ERA in 15 starts after the All-Star break. The righty, who turns 26 on Friday, had a career-high 30 starts and nine wins in 2016, and he will be relied on heavily this year to keep the rotation in check.

After opening the 2016 season on the disabled list, Gausman went 1-6 with a 4.15 ERA in the first half.

But in six August starts, Gausman went 4-2 with a 2.45 ERA, pitching 36 2/3 innings and allowing just 11 runs (10 earned) with 41 strikeouts. He went six or more innings in five of those six starts, a trend he continued in …

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