If Zach Britton records a win or a no-decision tonight, he’ll become the first Orioles pitcher with 20 or more decisions to post a record above .500 since Erik Bedard went 15-11 in 2006. Coincidentally, Bedard is starting tonight for the Red Sox.
I determined that it qualifies as a coincidence, not an irony. Please correct me if I’m wrong.
A 12th victory tonight would tie Britton with Daniel Cabrera (2004) for the eighth-most wins by an Orioles rookie in franchise history.
Pedro Strop (1-for-17), Zach Phillips (2-for-15) and Clay Rapada (5-for-48) have combined to hold left-handed batters to a .100 average.
Adam Jones is batting .340 against the Red Sox this season, including a double, triple, two home runs and eight RBIs. Robert Andino is batting .311 against the Red Sox, with two doubles, two homers and nine RBIs.
Manager Buck Showalter told reporters today that his ankle felt better. Apparently, it was much more painful last night as he left the ballpark.
One player brought a cane into the clubhouse. Another one had a crutch.
“All well deserved,” Showalter said of the teasing. “So many things, as you all will find out one day, that you can’t do at 55 that you think you can do. A lot of things. But it’s all good. I don’t have to play.”
Showalter isn’t ready to discuss the winter agenda and whatever moves must be made to improve the club. The first step is determining who will be making decisions from the warehouse.
The Orioles could send a press release as early as Thursday announcing that president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail won’t be returning in 2012. (No press conference.) His contract expires on Oct. 31. And yes, Showalter is a candidate to replace him, which would leave the Orioles searching for another manager.
Speculation about Showalter moving upstairs has been building for months. He’s not commenting on it, of course.
As for what needs to be done to point the Orioles in the proper direction, Showalter said, “We all have ideas, but I don’t think now is the time to be discussing them. Obviously, our season ends tomorrow at whatever time, and I’ll make a bet that there are some things going on Thursday that will be moving toward next year. The baseball world moves very quickly in October, November, December and January. I feel pretty confident that we’ll be pretty relentless in trying to improve our club and our chances to be more competitive.
“Some things I’m sure are pretty obvious to you, and some that we look at may not be as obvious. It’ll get moving real quick here.”
The Orioles will send at least one player on the current active roster to the fall instructional league. No more than two.
Showalter plans on holding at least one mini-camp, and maybe two, in January. He’s not sure of the location and he can’t make it mandatory. He wants to gather his pitchers and some of his position players.
“The last thing we want to do is get surprised by something that shows up in Sarasota,” he said.
Showalter is hopeful that a few of his players win Gold Gloves this year. He’s often singled out shortstop J.J. Hardy, catcher Matt Wieters and right fielder Nick Markakis for their defensive excellence.
Markakis’ chances improve this year because Major League Baseball will honor a left fielder, center fielder and right fielder. In the past, three outfielders were chosen, regardless of position.
“I think that’s going to bode real well for Nicky,” Showalter said. “People will be able to hopefully recognize him for the great right fielder he is.”