Those two performances stood out the most in the Orioles’ 6-6, 10-inning tie with the Toronto Blue Jays.
“I feel good,” Jackson said. “I’m swinging at strikes and getting ahead in counts and not getting behind and getting good pitches to hit and taking advantage of it. That’s really the name of the game and that’s what’s happening right now.
“There’s a lot of spring left, a lot of at-bats left. The biggest thing for me was to come in and get a hot start, and I’ve accomplished that, but now it’s getting into the grind of spring, and it’s about being consistent throughout the whole March.”
Asked how he can separate himself from other players competing for the same job, Jackson replied, “Buck (Showalter) is a little-things-in-the-game type of guy. It’s not going to be whoever hits the best. I think it’s going to be the overall aspect of baserunning and where to be on a play on defense. It’s all the little things that are going to accumulate throughout the spring and be the final decision-maker.”
Jackson is 8-for-19 with three homers, six RBIs and seven runs scored. Pearce is 6-for-11 with three homers and nine RBIs. Today, they resembled two heavyweights trading punches in the middle of the ring.
“He’s swinging the bat well, too,” Jackson said. “It’s one of those things where it’s competition. Competition breeds success. I’ve always said it from the first day of my career. When you don’t have that competitive guy pushing you, you kind of stay stagnant as a player. You don’t succeed and you don’t get to reach your best potential.”
The Orioles have hit eight home runs in the past two games, including four today. A strong wind was blowing out to left field, but Showalter said, “They’re putting a good swing on it.”
“There’s 18 hitters there for a while who had the same conditions, and they (hit homers) and somebody else didn’t,” Showalter added. “I’ll take it. We do play with some wind blowing out in the big leagues. But I thought they were all good swings. Had some counts in their favor and a couple of ambushes early.”
Showalter agreed with starter Steve Johnson’s assessment that the right-hander was lacking fastball command today.
“Stevie’s not that type of guy,” Showalter said. “I think his first five pitches were balls. He made some good pitches, though. He’s better than that part of the game, early in the game. But he did OK.
“I was impressed with (Chris) Petrini. He’s throwing the ball good in a backup role. That’s hard to do, what he did.”
Petrini gave the Orioles two scoreless innings, with no hits allowed and one strikeout.
Showalter noted that Jair Jurrjens looked more comfortable on the mound early in his outing.
“His misses are down,” Showalter said. “I think he’s still getting his feet on the ground a little bit, but you can see flashes of why he’s had success.
“I thought he was a little more like himself. It’s been a while for him. You can’t expect it to come overnight.
“He’s going to get an opportunity. We’ll keep seeing if he can get back to the form that made him so successful.”