Chris Tillman will start Sunday’s season-finale against the Red Sox at Camden Yards.
It’s not known whether Steve Pearce will be in the lineup against right-hander John Lackey - the odds are against it - but he was a huge contributor to tonight’s 6-5 win with two doubles and three RBIs.
“That’s why his work has always been wanted,” Showalter said. “Stevie’s a professional hitter. He works hard at his trade. Part of the reason why he’s been hurt is because he works hard at his trade. His wrists have been...he kind of overdoes it sometimes to stay sharp. But he’s a pro. That’s why everybody respects him so much. There’s nothing beneath him and he’s always willing to do what’s best for the team. That’s why he keeps playing and we keep wanting him around.”
Jim Johnson notched his 49th save, giving him 100 over the last two seasons.
“Jimmy closed out another one-run game with basically the middle of their order,” Showalter said. “He’s going to end up leading the American League in saves. I’d like to think everybody appreciates how hard that is to do, especially with how many close situations we seem to have.”
Showalter was reminded afterward that the Orioles have won the last two season series against Boston for the first time since 1991-92. It didn’t bring much satisfaction to the manager of a team that’s not going to the playoffs.
“Not really,” he said. “The only thing is, it’s going to end up being the team with the best record in the American League, so... I’d trade places with them and have lost the series.”
The Red Sox already clinched home field advantage in the playoffs by virtue of Oakland’s loss today, but that didn’t lessen the intensity level of the game. It certainly didn’t quiet an enthusiastic crowd.
“The fans never surprise me,” Showalter said. “They’re always into it emotionally when it comes to the Baltimore Orioles, and that’s a given we never take for granted. You’ve got to continue to do a good job giving them something they can trust. And part of that is playing with the effort our guys played with tonight.
“We are playing for something. We could talk for hours about what it is. It’s not draft status and the June draft. No one in that clubhouse feels like we’re not playing for something.”
Brian Roberts hit his third home run in five games and his eighth in 288 plate appearances this season. He totaled seven homers in 513 plate appearances from 2010-2012.
“Brian’s been swinging the bat well,” Showalter said. “Brian’s always giving you a professional at-bat, very consistent with that. He’s been healthy and solid for us. I think he’s really played a good second base while he’s been back. He’s swung the bat well. He’s a player that everyone’s real proud of.”
But will he be a player in the Orioles’ lineup next season?
“Brian’s got some good baseball ahead of him,” Showalter said. “That’s something that we’ll start...we’re trying to get through the year and make some evaluations of different things now that we’re not going to be in the postseason, as painful as that is to say. Those types of discussions and way that comes down is down the road. I plan on trying to personally get how Robby’s feeling. It’s not the time or place for it. He’s had a great year.”
Danny Valencia scored the winning run tonight on Pearce’s double in the eighth inning.
“Great send again by (third base coach) Bobby Dickerson,” Showalter said. “That’s a tough one that a lot of people... He’s very quietly had a great year at third base. I don’t think anyone’s done a better job of doing their work and placing infielders like Bobby has. I can’t tell you how many outs we’ve gotten from his work.”