Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he couldn’t remember the last time one of his pitchers tossed a complete game. Did it happen this season? Sure didn’t seem like it.
Showalter probably knew the exact date - June 16, 2012 - but reporters supplied the answer anyway.
Scott Feldman was the first to do it since Jason Hammel, going the distance to blank the White Sox 4-0 at Camden Yards.
“He had command of all his pitches,” Showalter said. “Got ahead in the count. I don’t think he ever got in a pattern. Matt (Wieters) did a great job. When you give any catcher, but especially Matt, those types of weapons at your disposal, you can do a lot of things to create some doubt in hitters. They hit some balls hard, too. We had some breaks go our way tonight that we haven’t had it seems like in a while. Had some close calls go our way that seemed to have been falling the other way. I hope that’s a good sign.
“I’ve known Scott since, it seems like a long time ago. It’s a sharp knife with him. It’s one way or the other. Scotty’s an athletic, competitive guy. If he’s not throwing strikes, it’s not for fear of the bat or anything. Between the cutter and the fastball and the curveball and a couple curveballs here and there. His tempo is a lot of fun to play behind because he’s in the zone and you know there’s going to be some action.
“Scott’s going to give you a chance to win the game. A lot about pitching is trying to stay off the sweet part of the bat and pitch to, not contact, but pitch to weak contact, so to speak. When you’re sitting there with those guys playing defense, why wouldn’t you? Every night there are some plays made that a lot of people don’t make.”
Showalter had Brian Matusz ready in the bullpen to face Adam Dunn if the first two batters reached in the ninth. And he had Jim Johnson ready in case the White Sox eventually sent Alexei Ramirez to the plate.
“I was trying to stay away from a Ramirez matchup with Matusz,” Showalter said. “They could have maneuvered their way into that if they hit for (Jeff) Keppinger with (Conor) Gillaspie and then go back to Ramirez against Matusz. I was trying to stay away from that one.”
Feldman didn’t force a move to the bullpen, retiring the White Sox on only five pitches. He’s given up two earned runs or fewer in five consecutive starts.
“Scotty had a really good outing last time out and threw 111 pitches and he was working on an extra days rest, so I felt comfortable about letting him go,” Showalter said. “He’s a guy you can trust telling you how he feels and how he doesn’t, but you better read between the lines. He’s not going to tell you what some people might tell you when there’s a way out. He doesn’t take the way out.”
Wieters slowed Feldman’s tempo in the seventh.
“Matt thought he got a little fast there in the seventh,” Showalter said. “He was trying to pitch the seventh like the ninth. You could tell. Matty thought it was a little bit on his mind, like, let’s get through it. I asked him in the dugout how (Feldman) was doing and he said, ‘He’s fine. He just got a little fast there and I wanted to slow him down a little bit.’ “
Earlier in the day, the Orioles selected the contract of outfielder Chris Dickerson, who replaced Michael Morse in left field in the seventh. The Orioles added Dickerson instead of Jason Pridie, another non-roster outfielder.
“We like Jason Pridie,” Showalter said. “I was talking to Griff (Mike Griffin) today about him. I hope he’s with our organization next year. He’s a solid defender. He fits us profile-wise. I asked Griff in the dugout tonight who he thought was the better defender there and he said they’re both real good defenders. They can play all three positions. But there’s familiarity with Chris. And they’re both still an option for us. Jason’s down in Sarasota. But I think (Dickerson’s) a tick better baserunner, faster, can steal a base for us.
“I got a hold of him in Charlotte today. He was making a connection to California and got him off that plane and got him on one heading in this direction. He got here around 8:30. And you knew the ball was going to find him. He had (Nick) Markakis’ glove and someone else’s shoes. You know how they are about taking luggage off a plane. It’s hard enough in today’s world.
“It allows us to do some things with Nate (McLouth) and Mike. I think Chris can contribute in some different roles that we’re in need of. It’s just a matter of deciding if we had another spot we could create.”