Manager Buck Showalter hit on a variety of topics after today’s 5-1 victory over the Tigers. Here’s a sampler platter for you. It’s made for sharing.
No napkins required.
Showalter couldn’t possibly ask any more from his starters after four games.
“No, you couldn’t, especially with some of the challenges we’ve faced with Matusz and Duchscherer and a couple line drives off pitching arms toward the end of spring training,” he said. “And now Bergy’s going to have to pick up the slack for Guthrie on Wednesday. It looks like he’s got a form of pneumonia. He’ll probably be out at least five to seven days. We’ll see if he’s available on the 10th or not. We’ll see. But just another challenge for us.
“I thought Berken was real good for us today. Pie had a great game in left field. A real difference maker. Turned a lot of hits into outs. But the starting pitching obviously has been everything you could ask for. Kind of fed off each other a little bit. I know Jake didn’t necessarily want to fly out yesterday but it worked out pretty good for him.”
I’m too tired to insert first and last names in parenthesis. You know who he’s talking about.
Brian Roberts is batting .294 with two homers and eight RBIs.
“Robby for a long time in the Baltimore Oriole organization, it seems like he’s been able on the field to dial up what was needed, whether it’s a stolen base or a walk,” Showalter said. “He’s got just a feel for being able to challenge the moment. He’s already had some big hits for us early in the year. And I think with what’s going on some with J.J. and Felix down there in place of Luke, it sets up some pretty good RBI spots for him.”
Imagine how good the Orioles could be if they were getting more run production from some of the new guys. Well, you can’t top 4-0, but you know what I mean.
“It creates a good feeling offensively because there will be a time when we’ll hit some dumps and we’ll have to score, but five runs... Porcello was pretty good today and we’ve beaten some good pitchers in these first four games, but a lot of this is a direct relationship to our starting pitching keeping us in the ballgames,” Showalter said. “If we can stay away from the big innings and not have these, where guys have to get out of their zone a little bit offensively and try to do too much and keep that pass the baton mentality, just keep working on down the line and make grind at-bats...we feel real good about the track record of our offense if we can keep them on the field.”
Roberts broke a 1-1 tie with a three-run homer in the fifth.
“Robby’s looking second and third there and nobody out with the infield back and looking for a ball he could hook,” Showalter said. “I was kidding him after he hit the home run. I said, ‘You got him over,’ which he did. But Robby understands that part of the game. He’s not going to make an out on the left side. You get in that situation, you should have a minimum of two runs. Get them over and get them in, especially with Nicky sitting there in the two-hole. What a game Nicky had. He’s squaring up a lot of balls.”
Showalter was asked about the rousing ovation he received during pre-game introductions. He naturally deflected the attention somewhere else.
“A lot of people did,” he said. “It really verifies what I say about the intelligent baseball fan we have here in Baltimore. You look at the response, not for me, but for Britton. That’s pretty cool. You don’t think they read where we have our prospects and what have you and all the things that go on? That was pretty cool. That shows that some people live and die with us. Just like I told the players, they know who Zach Britton is, and Manny Machado and whatever. One of the great things is our minor league clubs are close by. One of the tough things about that is there are no secrets. Not that you want there to be. I think everybody appreciated the response we got after being gone here since February. It meant a lot to everybody, especially me.”
Nick Markakis had three more hits today and is batting .429. Does he feel less pressure with more proven bats in the lineup?
“I guarantee you he approached the game with his Little League team and high school team the same way,” Showalter said. “Once you’re around him a few days...all the new coaches and new people, one of the things they all said is they didn’t realize how good a baseball player this guy was. One of the benefits if we can have an improved year is maybe the people around baseball...but Nick doesn’t need that, he doesn’t live for that. He lives for the respect of his teammates and the people who watch him every day in the stands.”
The Orioles are winning despite Vladimir Guerrero and Adam Jones batting .125 with no homers or RBIs.
“They’ll be there for us, and over the long haul. They’ve got a lot of want-to. You see it every day,” Showalter said. “Sometimes you can have too much of it and you’ve got to take the emotion out. I know Vlady and Jonesy have enough track record that they’ll be there.”
Jason Berken has struck out six in three scoreless innings.
“He came into camp in great shape. Feels great physically. Did the things to get back to where he needs to be,” Showalter said.
Here’s more from Showalter concerning Guthrie’s health issue.
“Don’t think we’re going to have the need for a roster move unless we’re dealing with something more serious with Arlo, but I think he’s going to be fine eventually,” Showalter said. And yes, he called Guthrie “Arlo.” Does it all the time.
“Doctors, I know they are waiting for a test. It was about a half-hour away before game time to really nail down exactly what they’re dealing with. Our doctor felt like it was a form of pneumonia. For (Guthrie) not to make the introductions, he’s pretty ill. They kept him overnight. He’s in the hospital. That’s another reason why he wasn’t here. They’re going to keep him overnight tonight.”
The Orioles are looking forward to being off tomorrow, despite the fast start.
“That certainly makes it a little sweeter,” Showalter said. “I made a decision that I want to get these guys away. They’ve been gone and I can’t begin to tell you how hectic last night was, the turnaround today coming in here. They’ve got boxes and are trying to move into places. I think three-fourths of our team is commuting into Baltimore. We put that out there, optional for them. We’ll get treatment for some guys, but I really want them to kind of relieve some of the pressures they have with everyday life. I think it’ll be good for them.”