Orioles manager Buck Showalter spoke to the media for almost eight minutes following tonight’s 4-3 win over the Kansas City Royals.
He naturally spent some time on starter Wei-Yin Chen, who was charged with two runs in 6 1/3 innings, and the 48-minute rain delay that forced the left-hander out of the game in the seventh.
“They were hitting some balls,” Showalter said. “I think we got one or two strikeouts. We didn’t walk anybody, I believe, which was key. As good an offensive team as they are, as aggressive as they are, you don’t want to put people out there. Bend a little bit, but didn’t break. We got some big outs.
“I think had about a 50-something minute delay. If it had been a quick on-and-off, we’d have let him continue. We all start the stopwatch as soon as they call it, or stop it. I’ve got some certain periods where I don’t want to go beyond time-wise. But a lot depends on, you know, it wasn’t the second inning, it was the seventh.
“He’s a competitive young man. He’s a good teammate, he interacts great with everybody. He competes. He’s a fan of his teammates. He’s a guy that’s very easy to pull for. He’s a baseball player that happens to be a pitcher. There are a lot of pitchers that are baseball players because they’re one of 25. We have a lot of guys like that.”
“I tell you, Ryan very quietly has really turned some double plays,” Showalter said. “He really worked hard on that in the spring. I don’t want to jinx him, but he’s really done a good job on the pivot in the middle of the infield.”
Brian Matusz made one bad pitch and it resulted in a two-run homer by Alex Gordon that left Chen with a no-decision.
“I thought he had one pitch, borderline ball or strike,” Showalter said. “We don’t talk much about spilled milk, but he just didn’t get the ball where he needed to get it, and good hitters will make you pay for it.”
Tommy Hunter retired all four batters he faced to pick up the win. He hasn’t allowed a run in eight consecutive appearances, and his ERA is down to 1.69.
“It’s hard to do what these guys do,” Showalter said. “Tommy’s been aggressive. He’s trusted himself and not really dwelled on the past. That’s one key that I talk about all the time. What happened behind you happened behind you. The only way it’s going to affect you is if you dwell on it.
“Tommy’s got a good arm. I think he’s been more comfortable pitching as opposed to always ceding to harder and harder and harder. I think (Matt Wieters has) done a good job of not letting him get into that just throw, throw, throw mode, to pitch a little now and then. He’s got other pitches, obviously, from his background as a starter.”
Asked whether Wieters’ opposite-field, tie-breaking double in the eighth showed what kind of hitter he can be, Showalter replied, “It’s not so much he can be, he is.”
“The double, obviously a big blow for us,” he added. “You kind of look at run production with guys like J.J. (Hardy) and him. I know we get bogged down on batting averages. That will be there, but we like them up in a situation.
“J.J. stung the ball almost every time up tonight. I hope that’s a little bit of a sign of feeling a little better physically. He made a great play in the hole tonight, too.”