A look ahead, and Showalter’s theory on patience at the plate

The Orioles have gone through their rotation once, and it’s back to Jason Hammel for today’s series finale against the Minnesota Twins.

The club’s starters have posted a 5.74 ERA, which includes the three runs Hammel allowed to the Tampa Bay Rays over six innings on opening day.

Hammel berated himself afterward, but the Orioles would gladly take another quality start after the back-to-back struggles of Jake Arrieta and Chris Tillman.

Hammel is 2-0 with a 2.14 ERA in four career games against the Twins, including three starts. He’s allowed five runs and 11 hits in 21 innings, and Minnesota is batting .153 against him.

Jamey Carroll scoffs at those numbers. He’s 6-for-15 with two doubles, a triple and four walks against Hammel. Josh Willingham is 5-for-12 with a double and home run. Justin Morneau is 3-for-6 with three doubles and three walks.

Wei-Yin Chen will start Monday afternoon against the Boston Red Sox, the third opening day for the Orioles. They got to stand around for the Rays’ pregame festivities, and they’ll do the same at Fenway Park.

The Orioles are listing the other two starters as TBA, perhaps because they’re off Tuesday. Miguel Gonzalez still figures to pitch on Wednesday. The Red Sox are starting Clay Buchholz, Ryan Dempster and Felix Doubront.

Before last night’s game, manager Buck Showalter was asked whether the Orioles’ more patient approach at the plate had contributed to their 3-1 start. His response may interest you.

“It’s some of it, in some cases, but that’s something that can get real fleeting,” he said. “I think it’s a product of not feeling like they’re focused on one spot in the order and, ‘I’ve got to do it.’ You feel more comfortable about passing that baton. But selectivity doesn’t always show up in walks. I think some of those theories have been proven.

“You cannot take until you hit. You cannot do it. You hit until you take, and that’s the mentality people miss. If you put that in minor league hitters’ and major league hitters’ minds, they are not going to hit. It may look aesthetically pleasing statistically for a while, but you will suffer offensively. So, our guys are hitting until they take, but you’ve got a split second to make that decision.

“Standing in the box and saying, ‘I’m going to be selective. He’s not going to get me to swing at that slider in the dirt,’ but at the same time, I’m supposed to react to a fastball in? That’s hard to do. Why do you think good hitters swing at those pitches? I’ve seen Wade Boggs swing at a slider in the dirt. I’ve seen (Don) Mattingly do it. It’s hard to box one out. But if you are taking until you hit, you are not going to hit.”

Got all that?

Shameless plug alert: I’ll be appearing on “O’s Xtra,” which begins at 1 p.m. on MASN2.

Later tonight, I’ll be heading to the airport to catch a 9:55 p.m. flight to Boston. I still haven’t unpacked my suitcase.

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