Apparently, Nick Markakis couldn’t talk his way into the Orioles lineup tonight after arriving at Camden Yards following the birth of his third son. He may have to settle for pinch-hitting or defensive duty.
A nap wouldn’t be a bad idea, but sleep will have to wait.
The Yankees manufactured a run off Orioles starter Scott Feldman in the top of the first inning on a leadoff walk to Brett Gardner, a stolen base and two ground balls to shortstop J.J. Hardy. Robinson Cano gets the RBI.
Feldman has retired nine in a row since the walk.
Hardy is batting .291/.346/.491 since the break, the second-highest OPS (.837) among major league shortstops behind Hanley Ramirez (.928) of the Dodgers.
Michael Morse grounded to third baseman Mark Reynolds leading off the bottom of the third inning, making him 3-for-18 with the Orioles.
Manager Buck Showalter conceded that Morse is pressing while trying to make an impact after the Orioles traded for him at the Aug. 31 deadline.
“Sure he is,” Showalter said. “You could tell the attitude he came in with. I talked a little bit about how I was going to use him, and he was like, ‘Whatever you need. I’m in. I’m here to try to help.’
“I’d like to see him get some return for how much he wants to contribute. Sometimes, that can get in the way a little bit. I hope it starts tonight. We need him. He’s been a good addition. It just hasn’t played out completely yet. I look at tonight as the start of that.”
Morse will start again Thursday night against Yankees left-hander David Huff and on Sunday against Blue Jays left-hander Mark Buehrle.
“This is a guy who’s had a big year facing right, left, everybody,” Showalter said. “It just fits a little better for us right now.”
The Orioles have made 42 errors in their first 144 games, putting them on pace for 50 in 162. Yes, they still can shatter the 2003 Mariners’ record of 65.
The Orioles lead the majors with a .992 fielding percentage, which, if maintained through the entire season, would be the best in baseball history, topping the 2007 Rockies’ mark of .989.
According to Elias, the Orioles’ 109 errorless games are four shy of the 2008 Astros for most in a season since 1900. The 2003 Mariners had 112 errorless games.
Has the defense been as good as the statistics suggest?
“Yeah, it has,” Showalter said. “I’m proud of how much emphasis our guys have put on it, because sooner or later, it’s got to be about whether they want to. And it creates a culture of it. I know one thing, our guys down in instructional league and in the minor leagues get hammered on it daily. If you’re going to play up here, you’re going to defend.
“Up here, the water’s part for very few offensive guys, because they’re going to struggle offensively for a while. Most of them. Your ability to play defense allows me to run you out there. If you can catch it and turn hits into outs. And just catching a routine ball, unfortunately, doesn’t work anymore. You’ve got to turn some hits into outs.”
A reporter asked how many Gold Gloves the Orioles deserve to win this year.
“Anything less than nine, I’m pissed. We’ve got to do better,” Showalter quipped.
“I think we’ve got a shot at four. I think we should be strongly considered for five or six.”
Showalter didn’t do a roll call, but he fully supports catcher Matt Wieters, shortstop Hardy third baseman Manny Machado and center fielder Adam Jones. He’s also talked up Chris Davis’ defense at first base, but he knows that Tampa Bay’s James Loney and Kansas City’s Eric Hosmer also are deserving.