Tonight’s doubleheader is a double-edged sword. Last night’s postponement gave the Orioles’ bullpen a chance to rest. That was good news. Buck Showalter said he would have stayed away from Jeremy Accardo and Josh Rupe, anyway. You probably could’ve thrown Koji Uehara on that list too, as Showalter is not likely to use the righty on back-to-back days.
The flip side is the O’s will have to play eighteen innings of baseball tonight. If the worst-case scenario happens and Zach Britton and Jake Arrieta both make early exits tonight, the bullpen could be right back in bad shape for tomorrow. Remember, tomorrow is a day game, so it’ll be a quick turnaround.
In other news: I had a chance to catch up with Adam Jones in the clubhouse the other day. He said he wished I would’ve been around last September to see the “transformation”.
I was out on maternity leave when the O’s started to win under Showalter.
Since coming to Baltimore in 2008, Jones and I have had several conversations about the culture in the clubhouse. Jones told me this year, “Buck just lets us go.” I asked what that meant.
Jones said Showalter believes his players know how to play the game correctly; they are professional ballplayers, after all. He said Buck just has an approach that says: Here are the rules, go out there and play.
There’s no focus on minute details like precise stretch times or hitting times for batting practice. As long as everyone gets their work in, Showalter leaves his players alone - and they appreciate that.
Jones did mention, though, that Showalter expects players to do their job. If they don’t, the players know he’ll find someone that will. It’s pretty cut and dry; no yelling, no bravado, just here’s what I expect - now do it.
One change Showalter made that several players told me they appreciate is moving the coaches out of the clubhouse. For years, coaches had their own separate room, which is the norm for most clubs around the league.
Two years ago, Dave Trembley moved the coaches’ lockers into the players portion of the clubhouse. The idea was to help in the teaching process by bringing the players closer to the coaches. From what I understand, many players saw this as babying of sorts.
Players appreciate their own space where they can bond with their teammates. By moving the coaches out of the clubhouse this year, Showalter treated his players like adults, and I believe it’s one of the reasons they’re winning.