You can bet that he’ll start against David Price if the Orioles are matched up against him during the final road series of the regular season on Sept. 20-23.
Valencia is 9-for-12 lifetime against Price after going 2-for-2 with a walk last night.
“He may have a career doing this,” manager Buck Showalter said. “It’s like a left-handed reliever, isn’t it? At the very worst.”
The Orioles were aware of Valencia’s success against Price back in November when they purchased him from the Red Sox.
“That was one of the reasons we brought him,” Showalter said. “That’s one of the things you file in the back (of your mind) when you sign him in the off-season. We were looking at that. There’s not many of them floating around and we had a feeling we might face David Price this year. So, yeah, we look at those things.”
With a major assist from Ben Werthan, the Orioles’ advanced scouting coordinator.
“Ben runs those numbers about people,” Showalter said. “CC Sabathia, (Hiroki) Kuroda, you know you’re going to see them a lot. Kick me out guys that are out there that hit these guys well and see if they can catch the thrown ball and they’re not any trouble. You go through a lot of things before you acquire somebody.”
Valencia could get some starts against right-handers, as well, since the Orioles optioned Henry Urrutia to Triple-A Norfolk.
“Danny’s capable of better than just hitting left-handed pitching,” Showalter said. “He goes down there (to Triple-A) and wears it out, period. At 28, I don’t want him to think he is a specialist against left-handed pitching, but it’s something that he’s very good at and can carve a niche for him, at the worst.
“I talked about it (with him) yesterday. Think about it as the worst-case scenario. You’re going to have people interested in you, including us, because the niche you’ve carved out for yourself. This was before he got two more hits.
“He hits the one off the end of the bat and it scoots up the middle. It’s like, ho-hum, he hits the ball into left-center field. It ain’t that easy. David Price is pretty good.”
So, why is Price so right for Valencia?
“I know exactly what it is and I’m going to broadcast it here now,” Showalter said, leaning back in his chair and grinning.
“It’s one of those things, I’m afraid to ask him. What is it on this guy? What do you do? Why are you different? So we can share your knowledge with everybody else.
“I kind of know what the answer is. See it, hit it.”
And if you can do it with runners in scoring position, all the better.
Update: Miguel Gonzalez threw eight pitches in the first inning and 24 in the second, as he fell behind 1-0.
A leadoff walk to Matt Joyce in the second came back to haunt Gonzalez. Joyce moved to second with two outs on Gonzalez’s errant pickoff throw and scored on a bloop single by Yunel Escobar.
The Orioles have made only 38 errors, but they’ve committed one in both games of this series.