Orioles manager Buck Showalter made it very clear that plate umpire Todd Tichenor’s strike zone wasn’t up to major league standards today - or tee-ball, for that matter. But Showalter skillfully avoided ripping Tichenor during his postgame session with the media.
Feel free to read between the lines.
Asked about Jeremy Guthrie, who allowed three runs in seven innings while falling to 4-14 with a 4.33 ERA, Showalter replied, “Good outing, really good outing. Tough conditions. Working with kind of a challenging strike zone. I thought he held up real well and gave us a chance to win. Impressive. He had a lot of things that would challenge most guys. I thought he pitched well. It was another good outing for him. I was impressed with it. It’s tough to ... seven innings and all those conditions and he gave us a good chance to win.”
Did Guthrie seem to get better as the game progressed?
“He had some good innings and didn’t really get a return for it,” Showalter replied. “There were some challenges presented to him that he worked his way through.”
We’re not just talking about the heat
Did those challenges impact Guthrie’s performance?
“No,” Showalter said. “I’ve got nothing but good things to say about Jeremy’s outing. It was impressive, with a lot of things that were a challenge for him today. He’s a guy that doesn’t complain much. Him or Matt (Wieters), either, so try to keep that in mind.”
The Orioles hit into two more double plays in the first three innings.
“We’ve had a few, and I could probably go back and find two or three where balls were hit right on the button, but it’s frustrating,” Showalter said. “We’ll go through a period where it won’t happen again, but we’re in a stretch now where it seems like we get something going and we get a double play right behind it. They’re real good defensively to start with.”
The game got away from the Orioles in the eighth when Mark Worrell replaced Guthrie and served up two home runs. The five-run inning decided the outcome.
So why Worrell in that situation?
“As opposed to what?” Showalter replied. “That’s about where we are down there. We’re in a situation, I’m sure you’re aware of, with J.J. (Jim Johnson) and Koji (Uehara). I think J.J.’s close to ... trying to stay away from him as much as possible, if we can. And with the amount of appearances and innings that he has, that’s about where we are.
“(Worrell) is a guy that a level behind him had some success against right-handers. Should have been a pretty good spot for him, but it didn’t work out. We just don’t have a lot of options with people who are getting people out on a consistent basis other than, really, Kevin (Gregg) and Koji and J.J.”
The homestand is over and the Orioles are preparing for a 10-game road trip that begins Tuesday in Toronto. They’re 0-6-1 in their last seven series.
“We’ve been searching all year to find somebody who can pitch effectively other than those three guys down there at the end, but we felt like at 3-2 we had a shot at them,” Showalter said. “Nicky (Markakis) had a good day, but we haven’t swung the bats consistently. It’s kind of been a before and after with the starting pitching. Hopefully, we’re getting a little bit of the after now. Hopefully, we’re going to run off some good outings, but we’ll see. Toronto will have something to say about that.”
Guthrie turned in the Orioles’ fifth straight start of six innings or more, and they’ve posted a 3.21 ERA in that stretch.
Markakis had a single, double and his 10th home run. He also recorded his ninth outfield assist.
Adam Jones hit home runs in back-to-back games for the third time this season.
The Orioles became the fifth team in the majors with six players with 10 or more home runs (Markakis, Jones, Wieters, J.J. Hardy, Derrek Lee and Mark Reynolds), joining Cincinnati, Colorado, Texas and the Yankees.
The Orioles drew one walk in the three-game series.