Orioles manager Buck Showalter doesn’t feel an extra sense of excitement or anticipation with the non-waiver trade deadline a week away. His attention and interest remains tied to the 25 players in his clubhouse.
He knows that rumors are swirling, but his head doesn’t turn to follow them.
“It’s exciting for us to win our first three games in Cleveland. That’s where my focus is,” he said. “That type of thing, I don’t read it. Someone will ask me about it, like here.”
You can be sure that every pitcher or corner infielder who becomes available will be linked to the Orioles.
“I know the names that are probably floating around, like they do every year,” Showalter said. “I’d love for someone to keep a tally sheet on what they’re right about. From experience, I keep in mind the ol’ throw it up against a wall and when it sticks, I told you so. But it’s good for the fans. They like it. It keeps them engaged. And everybody plays fantasy swap. The ol’, ‘Would you do this for him?’ ‘Yes, I would, but they won’t do it.’
“It’s one of the things we had a conversation about during the workout at the All-Star break. I was telling them what was coming. And that’s another good thing about having a guy like (Jim) Thome and different guys around. Obviously, to get somebody, somebody leaves, not only in your organization, but in that locker room. I think the last thing players need to hear is the manager weighing in on that, because I’ve asked them to keep their focus.
“It’s also a good day after the trading deadline’s gone, where the smoke has cleared and what’s real is real and what’s not is not. You don’t know what’s going on with other clubs, exactly what they’re thinking. I can tell you one thing, nobody can keep a secret, with the exception maybe of the Yankees.”
As for tonight’s game, Wei-Yin Chen hasn’t allowed a run or hit in three innings. He walked Matt Joyce with one out in the second.
Wilson Betemit singled with two outs in the second.
The Orioles have scored three runs or fewer eight times in Chen’s last 12 starts.
Update: Adam Jones broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the fourth inning with his 23rd home run of the season.
Orioles 1, Rays 0.
The Orioles are 17-4 when Jones hits a home run. Twelve of his 23 homers have given the Orioles a lead. Three others have tied the game.
Update II: There goes the lead.
Rays No. 9 hitter Brooks Conrad belted a two-run homer with two outs in the fifth to give Tampa Bay a 2-1 lead.
Conrad jumped on a 1-2 slider from Chen, who walked Sam Fuld with one out.