NEW YORK - The Orioles and Yankees have met 22 times this season and split the games right down the middle. It seems appropriate that they’ll play again Friday afternoon with the winner advancing to the American League Championship Series.
First pitch for Game 5 of the Division Series is set for 5:07 p.m. in the Bronx.
Here’s the transcript from manager Buck Showalter’s late-night session with the media:
Q. After the game, it seemed like a couple of your players were exhausted that we talked to. What was it like to manage that game?
SHOWALTER: “Well, I don’t have to play. If somebody says you don’t look well or you’re limping or whatever, I don’t have to play. They do it. Fortunately or unfortunately, we have some experience at this. No, this time of year you find an auxiliary tank, so to speak. It’s tough. I can’t say that I know exactly what they’re going through. You try to put yourself in their shoes, but it’s just a real test mentally and emotionally. There’s a lot of ebbs and flows there. But the pitching on both sides was outstanding.”
Q. Both games you’ve lost this series, you walked in here and I guess we expected something else, but you shrugged and said we’ll play again tomorrow.
SHOWALTER: “Well, I don’t take for granted at any time what these guys are accomplishing so far. They know that. I have so much respect for our guys and what level they choose to compete at. But it’s hard to do what they do, and it’s what separates them. They look at a night like tonight and tomorrow as an opportunity to shine and separate themselves, and I’m sure so do the Yankees. Anything worth accomplishing comes with some real prices to pay. It’s like when you get that gift as a child that you didn’t really work for or didn’t really deserve, it didn’t mean as much, but when you acquire something or you accomplish something that you really worked for, it means that much more. You know, the baseball gods let you up off the deck if you stay true to the game, and that’s the one common thing that these ... so far, so good. We’ve got a big challenge ahead of us tomorrow, but we have an opportunity.”
Q. We’ve talked about this before. This was your 20th extra-inning game and you’re 17-3.
SHOWALTER: “Looks like it, doesn’t it?”
Q. And you have a young team and some young guys in that bullpen. Do you ever marvel that these guys can hold on the way they do?
SHOWALTER: “Oh, yeah, every day. Well, I think it’s because we’re able to pass the load around. We have so many guys ... if you go back through tonight’s game, we needed every bullet to get an out in a key spot and pass the baton. I think it’s unusual to have that many passes of the baton as we’ve had this year in these type of games without somebody dropping it.
“I thought (Pedro Strop) was outstanding tonight. You go on, Darren O’Day, he gave me that look about going another inning, and it’s not a good idea. We had another bullet down there in (Chris) Tillman, who’s been pitching well. Going through that spot of the order with Jimmy (Johnson), too, was a challenge. I’m real proud of him. But sleep fast and another challenge around the corner. I think we’re thankful for the opportunity, and it’s an honor to be playing Game 5 against a team like the Yankees.”
Q. Tomorrow is kind of a different game as these go because it’s a winnerâ€‘takeâ€‘all, but at the same time if you do win there’s a game the next day. Does that change anything at all about how you deploy anybody or anything about how you handle that game?
SHOWALTER: “Like I’m going to save somebody for the next round? No, it’s all hands on deck. Everything is pointing towards those nine innings or more tomorrow. I’m sure the biggest challenge I’d have is talking somebody out of not being available.
“Manny (Machado) had a good night tonight. Made some plays at third base. Proud of him. Nate (McLouth), defensively we made some really good plays that I thought were difference-makers.”
Q. What were you looking for in (Jason Hammel’s) workout yesterday? And is there any concern sending him out there knowing that this is a decisive Game 5 and it’ll be his fourth start since midâ€‘July?
SHOWALTER: “No, I think it’s almost in his favor. He’s got some bullets left where a lot of people may not. No, Jason feels fine. He feels as good as he has all year. Of course nobody feels as good as they did - last time someone was 100 percent was before spring training started. It’s just the nature of the beast. I chuckle when somebody says, ‘I gave 110 percent.’ That’s not possible - 100 percent isn’t there to go get this time of year. But no, Ham is ready to go.”
Q. Was there anything in particular yesterday?
SHOWALTER: “No, we’re just looking at the workday, making sure the knee is still where it was the last time out. And he feels good.”
Q. The differences between these two teams are pretty well documented, whether it’s payroll, experience or that sort of thing. But the way you guys have played each other all year, you split the season series. And did it have to come down to this, winnerâ€‘takeâ€‘all Game 5 between these two teams?
SHOWALTER: “You know, as good a team as they are, like I said, it’s an honor to be in Game 5 with them. You knew all along that the road to where we want to try to get is going to have to pass through there and here. They deserve to be playing, having the homeâ€‘field advantage. You win 90â€‘something games, you know, you ... I don’t get too overanalytical about it. We come and compete. Our team is a very easy team to trust. I don’t think I’ve spent â€‘ they don’t take anything for granted, and I never try to state the obvious to them because they look at me like, have you been watching?”