Here’s a sampling of manager Buck Showalter’s comments following tonight’s 10-1 rout of the Oakland Athletics before 26,926 at Camden Yards:
On the second-inning baserunning: “It’s one thing to be aggressive, it’s another thing to be kind of smart. The situation presented itself. Push the envelope a little bit. There were a lot of good at-bats there. Ronny (Paulino) stayed inside a ball. If nothing else, he’s going to get the runner over and the run in. Same way with (Ryan) Flaherty. The outs we were making were productive, too. That’s how you end up with a big inning.”
On Wei-Yin Chen’s effectiveness in poor weather conditions: “You’ve got rain. Obviously, some cold weather. It does get cold in Taiwan and Japan, too. He had some innings where he had a lot of time in between, but he handled it well. I’d like to see him do a better job in the first batter on. He got in some deep counts, but he kind of righted himself and was pretty good the last three innings.”
On Chen saying his goal was to go seven innings: “I know down deep, his goal is nine, but anytime we can get in that range there with a lead, all clubs like their chances, anytime you can decrease the amount of outs you have to get out of the bullpen. He had an extra day this time and he has an extra day next time out. Big for our bullpen, especially with a day game, quick turnaround. You don’t want to use a lot of guys if you can help it. He’s got some deception. We’re still familiarizing ourselves with him a little bit, but so far, so good. He’s throwing the ball well, giving us a chance to win.”
On Chen throwing 27 pitches in the first before settling down: “Ronny’s caught him twice now and has done a good job with him getting him back on track. Rick (Adair) and he and his interpreter talk between innings and they make some adjustments. A little fine early, just missing, a little off the plate. Then he got back in the strike zone and trusted himself. He knows he’s going to see a lot of right-handed hitters at this level and he’s got some presentations to defend himself against right-handed hitters.”
On whether there was concern over Chen getting hit near the belt: “Yeah, considering that we know he doesn’t protect himself like most people in this game do, but that may change. But it was actually a little above that area that protection allows you to withstand it. I think it scared him as much as anything. Something that close can get your attention. How did I do that? I handle it pretty well? Thank you. We all know what I’m talking about.”
On Frank Robinson witnessing the offensive outburst: “It was a big day. It was emotional for me, sitting up there and listening to everybody talk. I know Roland Hemond - we were together with the Arizona Diamondbacks when they first started out. What an honor it is to be able to sit in the audience and listen to Hank Aaron and Frank speak and be there. It’s a big day for our organization. Just kind of repay a lot of things that Frank meant to all of us. He’s always treated me really well. I’ve known him for a while. He’s a great guy for advice. I thought it was apropo that we had a good offensive night on the night he was here and honored him.
“I talked to Adam (Jones), asked if he wanted to go, and he said, ‘Are you kidding me? I’m going.’ And Nicky (Markakis) wanted to go, being the right fielder. DeMarlo (Hale) couldn’t make it, but Kirb (Wayne Kirby) wanted to go up there. He’s real close to Eddie (Murray), too, from his Cleveland days. It was pretty cool. I had a chance to sit behind Earl Weaver. Are you kidding me? Those moments don’t happen all the time. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve taken them in, slowing down and realizing how fleeting having the opportunity to be around people like that for a short time is.”
On Chris Davis: “He’s swinging the bat good. He’s in a good place right now. Letting the ball travel, not getting himself out as much. He’s a force when he lets the game come to him. He’s a presence.”
A few more notes:
Showalter is two wins shy of 1,000 for his career. He’ll be the 58th manager to reach that milestone.
Nolan Reimold extended his hitting streak to 13 games.
Jones has hit safely in 18 of 20 games.
Paulino has hit safely in five of his six starts.