NEW YORK - Orioles manager Showalter and pitching coach Roger McDowell met with four of their young pitchers before today’s game to stress the importance of holding runners and increasing times to the plate.
“I said, ‘You’re not going to survive up here if you’re that slow to the plate. You’re not going to,’ ” Showalter said. “Go talk to (Kevin) Gausman and (Dylan) Bundy. At LSU and in high school in Oklahoma, they didn’t have baserunners. Pitching’s about 90-foot increments and stopping it.
“We’ve got four or five of these young kids who are 1.6, 1.7 (seconds) to the plate. There’s no way that Aaron Judge should steal second base (Friday) night. And I said, ‘Miguel, that cost you two earned runs by being 1.55 to the plate, because (Welington) Castillo is 1.83 to second and he was safe (by) a 10th of a second. Do the math. That cost you two earned runs. And if you want to break it down, it costs you money, and more importantly, it costs us a W.’
“I wanted them to hear it. I said, ‘Understand, you are not going to pitch up here at ... But I don’t want you to be 1.7 on one pitch and 1.3 on another pitch because, ‘Well, I think he can run.’ That’s bad for your delivery. You can’t have two different deliveries. So they heard about that today.”
This message is delivered at the lowest levels, too. The Orioles don’t wait until the pitchers reach the majors. However, Castro wasn’t in the organization until April.
“They’ve been told that in the minor leagues,” Showalter said, “but until you see it cost you a game or cost you two earned runs, it doesn’t really hit home.
“They’re all athletic and capable. And I said, ‘Understand something, I’ll take you out of the game or not bring you in a game because you can’t hold runners or you can’t field your position if it’s a bunt situation.’
“I’m going off on a tangent.”
Showalter wasn’t done.
“The problem with guys in rookie ball and everything is they just overpower the game with stuff, the really good ones, and they don’t see the need for it. Dylan was like, ‘Now, I know what you all are talking about.’
“When I first got to Texas, Pudge Rodriguez had been the catcher before I got there and they had just gotten rid of him. All the pitchers were 1.6 to the plate. I called them in and said, ‘Boys, I don’t know how to tell you this, but Pudge ain’t here no more They’re running now. So you’re going to have to shorten it up.’
“Actually, it’s funny, but Yacabonis’ delivery and strike percentage are better when he’s shorter to the plate. I made that point to him today. He’s got a good enough arm to pitch here.”
Update: Didi Gregorius hit a three-run homer off Jeremy Hellickson in the third inning to give the Yankees a 3-0 lead. Hellickson walked Chase Headley and Aaron Judge with two outs before Gregorius stepped to the plate.
Update II: Greg Bird hit a three-run homer in the fourth to increase the lead to 6-0.
Update III: Chris Tillman allowed one run in three innings and Todd Frazier hit a two-run homer off Donnie Hart in the seventh for a 9-0 lead.