Orioles manager Buck Showalter wasn’t going to use the rain as an excuse for tonight’s 6-2 loss.
It’s not like the Rays were inside a dome.
“This is not a perfect-condition sport,” he said. “You have to deal with all of it - cold, wind, rain. It’s part of it. We’ve played in a lot worse.”
The Orioles are 2-14 when scoring three runs or fewer. Showalter was asked whether he’s concerned that the lack of offense will cause the young pitchers to press, figuring they can’t afford to fall behind by two or three runs.
“I don’t know that’s something that figures into a young pitcher’s head at this point yet, but I am concerned that we’re not playing to our capabilities offensively, and I have a lot of confidence that that will change,” Showalter said.
Rookie Zach Britton lasted 5 1/3 innings in his shortest outing in seven major league starts. The three runs and four hits against him came in the second inning.
“His command wasn’t what it’s been for the most part,” Showalter said. “When you have good stuff, you’re going to have some people that are going to make you throw it over the plate. Hitters are looking for stuff out of a guy’s hands that looks like something they want to swing at, so you’ve got to command the baseball and keep them aggressive.”
Britton was removed after 95 pitches (52 strikes), and the rain was an obvious factor in that decision, though Showalter pretty much downplayed it to reporters.
“There’s some other thought there that went along with that,” he said. “In the future, he might stay out there, especially with a different weather situation.
“It was one of the reasons, not main. It’s a challenge for (Jason) Berken, (Jeremy) Accardo, all pitchers. And most importantly, it was a challenge for (James) Shields and he handled it real well.”
Shields is 3-0 with a 0.81 ERA in his last four starts.
There’s a reason he’s been pitching well for them for a long time with 200 innings a year,” Showalter said. “It shouldn’t surprise anybody that he goes deep into games. That’s what they’ve been doing for the majority of their games this season. And that’s why they’re going to have success if they continue to do that. It creates lesser outs and better situations for (Joe) Maddon to match up. A lot of good things come out of that and really creates a comfort level for the hitters, too.”