The Orioles are setting up for the Earl Weaver tribute that will take place on the field before Game 2 of today’s doubleheader against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
I’m told that Frank Robinson won’t be here. He was supposed to speak, along with Brooks Robinson, Jim Palmer, manager Buck Showalter and others.
Update: Palmer also couldn’t attend the tribute, but Cal Ripken Jr. is here.
As Showalter reflected on today’s 7-5 Game 1 victory, he kept going back to pitcher Jason Hammel.
“I’ll think back on Ham,” he said. “That looked like it was going to be three or four innings, but he got through the sixth inning.
Hammel was up to 51 pitches after two innings, but he left the game after the sixth at 113.
“I don’t think he settled down, I think he got more mad. I can read lips,” Showalter said.
“I think his command got better, command of the breaking ball. I think sometimes we all try to get something over with too quick. He was carrying good stuff. He wasn’t getting behind in the count a lot.”
With Hammel going six innings, “it kind of set up the bullpen the rest of the way,” Showalter said. “If he could get us through the bottom of the order, we felt like we could match up and have a chance from there on out.
“That’s why Ham kind of graduated a little bit as a starter, because what you see in the first inning isn’t necessarily what you’re going to be seeing in the fifth or sixth inning.”
Nolan Reimold’s two-run double in the eighth broke a 5-5 tie. He homered earlier in the game and caught a ball in left field that had disappeared in the sun.
“One of the most impressive plays was the ball in the sun,” Showalter said. “That’s tough. That part of the game, it goes to different parts of the field. There’s no routine play. He got off another good throw today. I’m happy for him. If you had seen him...
“I’ll tell you, the first week in spring training, even Brady (Anderson), who’s such a big supporter of all our guys, didn’t think he was going to make the start of the season. But the last two weeks he felt great. It’s like I told him the other day, they’ve corrected (his neck). I don’t think he’s worried about it. It’s not ever going to be exactly what it was with his range of motion. He’s had to make a couple adjustments in the way he sights up to get two eyes there because he doesn’t have quite the same mobility with his neck that he had, but it’s getting a little better every day.”
Pedro Strop retired only one batter in the seventh and couldn’t hold a 5-4 lead.
“Pete, I thought he struck (Mark Ellis) out on a checked swing,” Showalter said. “Then he gets a broken bat. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a first to third on that ball. Just a little bit of tough luck there that inning.
“I thought he pitched pretty well. I do. You take away the checked swing on which I thought is a pretty obvious strike three and makes a great pitch on a guy like (Matt) Kemp, splinters his bat in half and rolls through. I have a tough time... I think the wild pitch is a tough pitch to block, I’ll say that. Definitely a wild pitch. That was the only thing I’d find fault in.
“I think he showed last year, he’s strong mentally. Sometimes he wants something too much. I think that’s where he is right now.”
The four-run deficit is the largest overcome by the Orioles this season.
“So many times, guys feel like, ‘I’ve got to do it,’” Showalter said. “You see walks happening when you’re down four or five, 3-0, makes me feel good, because that’s a mature approach where you don’t get emotional and say, ‘I want to hit a five-run homer in one at-bat.’ You know it’s just a grind your way back. Let’s see how good an at-bat I can have and move on to the next guy.”