NEW YORK - The first inclination is to dwell on the seventh inning of today’s 4-3 loss to the Yankees, when the Orioles couldn’t find the plate and a two-run lead disappeared. However, they couldn’t build a bigger lead against a pitcher, David Phelps, who was willing to walk the ballpark. Opportunities were lost, and so was a game.
“A lot of people bend but don’t break,” said manager Buck Showalter. “Our guys have done that in the last couple of games, too. They’ve had some opportunities that we’ve shut them down from. Regardless of who you’re playing, this is the major leagues. Everybody’s got power and everybody’s got a chance to hurt you. It’s not one of those things we’re going to dwell on, like, ‘This could have been, that should have been, that would have been.’ Two inches on a breaking ball to (Derek) Jeter and he’s out. I got it. We understand that. These guys will turn the page. It’s great competition out there and we look forward to doing it again tomorrow.”
The go-ahead run scored in the seventh on a rare miscue from shortstop J.J. Hardy.
“I don’t know how they scored it, but if J.J. ... I think he’s the best shortstop in the league. I do,” Showalter said. “That’s not something I think twice about. That time of the day, the infield’s so chewed up. It’s partly our fault because we had a bunch of baserunners out there chewing it up.”
Pedro Strop has been effectively wild this season. Today, he was just wild.
“He’s done that before,” Showalter said. “That’s part of Pete’s success. It’s a ride sometimes, but it usually... He’s been great. He’s one of the reasons why we’re here. I told him when he came in the dugout, that’s a gutsy... Him and Matt, he’s thrown that 3-2 breaking ball, and (today) it was ball, but I love it. He competed his butt off and we got a big out from (Brian) Matusz after that and big outs from Darren (O’Day) and Wei-Yin (Chen) gave us a chance.
“The eight or nine walks and the hit by pitch I think they had... It’s not something we’re going to dwell on. We’re going to move on and try to win the series tomorrow.”
Chen took the hard-luck loss, dropping him to 12-8 with a 3.79 ERA.
“Wei-Yin’s been good for quite a while and I’m so proud of him, and regardless of what Tilly (Chris Tillman) does tomorrow, part of the reason we are where we are is because of the way they’ve pitched and competed. And he’s been pretty consistent since Day One,” Showalter said. “I’m real proud of him today. He went about as far as he could go today, probably a little bit more.”
Chen wasn’t particularly satisfied with his performance.
“I think I was just average today. I don’t know if I was good or bad,” he said.
Was Chen tiring in the seventh?
“That’s not an excuse for me,” he said.
“This is the AL East, the toughest division in the league. Our bullpen has done a really great job this whole year. The only thing I can say is, I didn’t pitch good in the seventh inning. I couldn’t get the ball down.
“In the seventh inning, I didn’t want them to hit a fly ball on me because they hit a lot of fly balls today. I just wanted to keep the ball down, but obviously too low for the umpire.”
Asked about the importance of this game, Chen replied, “Every game is really important to us now. Not only this game, but the following games are really important to us because we want to make it to the playoffs.”
Chen will get another shot at the Yankees next week at Camden Yards.
“This is baseball,” he said. “I just focus pitch-by-pitch. I don’t worry about which team I’m playing.”