DETROIT - The Orioles were slow to post today’s lineup for their series finale against the Tigers because manager Buck Showalter wanted to check the health of a couple players.
“Some little banged-up things,” Showalter said. “Want to make sure if we decide to give somebody a day, who we’d give it to. Got enough people to choose from, that’s for sure.”
Shortly after the media left Showalter’s office, another pregame scrum in the books, it became known that third baseman Manny Machado is bothered by some discomfort in his right index finger.
“The off-day (Monday) went away with the 13-inning game,” Showalter said. “All the benefits of two days in a row, gave some guys extra time, J.J. comes out, hits a home run and feels strong, feels good, and all of a sudden, 13 innings.”
Showalter also needed to check on reliever Richard Bleier’s availability. Bleier is the only left-hander in the bullpen and he’s appeared in the last three games.
“I wouldn’t say,” Showalter said. “I would expect maybe, but I’m not sure yet. They’re out throwing right now. I’ll know better when they get done there.”
Mancini made a nice running catch at the line last night and continued to appear comfortable at his new position. There are few awkward moments.
“He’s doing well,” Showalter said. “He’s embraced it. He saw we have a good first baseman. We have two or three of them. And he knows that’s where the possibility to get more at-bats are, so he’s embracing it.
“He looks more and more conventional out there. I’ll say that. Trey doesn’t care how he looks, about looking aesthetically pleasing. He just wants to catch the ball, hit the ball and cross the plate. I don’t think he’s that concerned about how it may present itself. ‘The ball’s in my glove and I’ve thrown it to the right person with a certain amount of velocity.’ I don’t think he overthinks it too much.”
Showalter also offered up his appreciation for Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson, who turns 80 years old today. He included memories of a chance meeting near Robinson’s home shortly after becoming manager.
“We were looking around for a house, we had decided to buy a place, and where he lives is actually too far out,” Showalter said. “We were driving around because it’s so pretty and I said, ‘There’s Brooks walking down the road.’ He and his wife were walking in the neighborhood and it had just started to drizzle.”
Showalter couldn’t resist pulling his car to the side of the road for a quick chat. Meanwhile, the rain intensified, as did the conversation, with Robinson wanting to talk about the Orioles.
“His wife’s going, ‘Come on, Brooks, let’s go,’ and he said, ‘No, I’m talking to Buck. I’ll be there,’ ” Showalter recalled. “He stayed there and talked. I said, ‘Do you want to get in the car?’ I think he had been sick and his wife wanted to get him out of the rain. I felt bad.”
Showalter has invited Robinson to speak to his players in the clubhouse, most notably during the playoffs. A photo hangs at the spring training complex.
“That was pretty cool,” Showalter said. “I wish we could get him out there more. A special guy.
“All around the Baltimore area, people are like, ‘Yeah, Brooks was here yesterday.’ There’s a place not too far from me that he goes for coffee every morning. He sits in the back, everybody knows him. Very unassuming. A great player, even a better person.”
Players understand Robinson’s impact on the game and the city despite the generation gap.
“They do in our locker room,” Showalter said. “If you wear our uniform, you do, because you’re constantly being talked to about it. And you’ve only got to spend like five minutes around him to realize what an endearing guy he is. He’s the type of guy who should spend 80-plus years on this earth.”
The Orioles made a video to honor Robinson today, which has been linked on their Twitter account.
“That came out pretty good, better than I thought it was going to be,” Showalter said.
Update: Davis hit a two-run homer off Jordan Zimmermann in the first inning and Seth Smith had an RBI single in the second to give the Orioles a 3-0 lead. All the scoring has come with two outs.
Davis is 8-for-16 with two doubles, five home runs, nine RBIs, eight runs scored and five walks in his last five games.
Update II: J.D. Martinez hit a three-run homer off Dylan Bundy in the third inning to tie the game.
Jose Iglesias doubled and Nick Castellanos reached with one out on an infield hit.
Bundy has thrown 45 pitches in three innings.
Update III: Jones homered with two outs in the fifth inning to give the Orioles a 4-3 lead.
Update IV: Victory Martinez hit a two-run homer off Bundy in the bottom of the fifth to give Detroit a 5-4 lead. Bundy’s streak of quality starts ended at eight.
The Tigers weren’t done. Justin Upton singled and scored on Alex Avila’s double to increase the lead to 6-4.
Update V: Smith homered off left-hander Blaine Hardy with one out in the seventh inning, and the Orioles trail 6-5.
Bundy allowed a career-high six runs in six innings. He also gave up eight hits, walked four batters and struck out three before leaving with his pitch count at 97.