Showalter speaks after 3-1 win

Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez looked like a different pitcher tonight than the one who lasted only four innings in New York. What made the difference?

“I wish I had the answers every time,” said manager Buck Showalter. “Obviously, I don’t.”

Showalter did his best to come up with some answers following the Orioles’ 3-1 win over the White Sox at Camden Yards.

“I thought he was commanding the ball down in the zone consistently,” Showalter said. “A lot of counts in his favor. The whole presentation, the tempo. Very confident. It was kind of like he was on a mission tonight. A little driven. I think it was a reminder to us of how good Miggy’s pitched for us the last two years, and there’s some good things left in there.

“The reason I have so much confidence in this team, it isn’t that he has to do it for him, he wants to deliver for the team. Whether it’s Jimmy (Johnson), Darren (O’Day), Tommy (Hunter), they have their ups and downs, but their hearts are always in the right place and that’s why I have so much confidence in them. It’s about, ‘I need to deliver this expectation of me so the team can win.’ I can’t say you always sleep good, but at least that part of it doesn’t ever create any anxiety in me. And I can’t say that’s always been the case in a lot of places and seasons.”

Here’s more from Showalter:

On Adam Jones:
“Adam Jones, 30 and 100. Adam took a 95 mph fastball just below the elbow last night. Hit a home run next time up. I came so close to taking him out of the game. In fact, I was going to and he wanted to take one more at-bat and see how it felt. He’s had it wrapped up and whatever. I talked to him today. It’s still sore. This guy is such a tough guy. We’re lucky to have him and we’re lucky to have ownership that allows us to have him.”

On whether the Orioles can keep pitching Gonzalez on five days rest:
“It’s possible, but we’ve managed all their innings well enough that we can go either way. A lot depends on the matchups. I don’t want to say it was stress-free. It wasn’t like he had some long pitch counts and innings. I want to see how Ham (Jason Hammel) feels. Obviously, he’s an option for us. And with the fullness of our bullpen this time of year, the amount of innings that Ham could give us doesn’t really play into it.”

On whether this was a significant win:
“They’re all significant from here on out just because of the opportunities that are not there. If we take care of business, it will be an interesting last week of the season. It’s as simple as that. I’ve said a bunch of times how this part of the year will inch along and you’ve really got to fight the urge to think the sky’s falling or the sky’s opening. It’s an every day, grind your at-bat, grind your outing. And you’ll usually like the outcome if you just try to stay in the moment. It’s difficult to do. It takes a lot of discipline.”

On drawing 17,383 despite the Ravens opening their season tonight:
“I said before the game, it does mean something to us, but it shouldn’t affect the way we play or the intensity we bring. But it makes it easier with the support we’ve had last year, this year and in the past. We had people come out and support us when we weren’t very good, too, so... I’d be supporting the Ravens, too. I am tonight. I’m going back and watch the game. I’m also going to glance over at a couple other games. But I don’t have a whole lot of interest in the outcome of the Keith Urban concert. I could hear it. But that’s OK, too. For some people, that’s where they wanted to be, and God bless them. I probably would on a given night. Well, maybe not.”

On J.J. Hardy:
“We talk about Adam’s year, but very quietly J.J.’s got 25 home runs again. He had a couple difficult plays that he made look routine. He’s a quality shortstop, too. He can really do some things. Like I’ve said 100 times, I didn’t know how good he was. I’ve kind of run out of things to describe him. I think everybody knows what we think of him. He’s so consistent. You know what you’re getting from him every day. He’s such a quiet leader in his own way. His voice carries a lot of weight and he picks his words wisely. He does so many things behind the scenes that I don’t even know about. Just a word here and a word there. It’s so unselfish. Just the way he carries himself. It’s an honor to watch him play shortstop every night. He’s the most fundamentally sound shortstop I’ve ever had. Maybe I’ve ever seen.”

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