Here is a random Orioles thought as we get closer to the start of Game 3 of the American League Division Series.
It seems we are reading some stories that portray the Orioles as a group of overachievers led by a brilliant manager. I get the part about Buck Showalter. He is a brilliant manager, setting a great tone for the team and whole organization really.
But he is not leading some band of no-talent misfits. Sure, they have some reclamation projects, like Nate McLouth and Lew Ford, that make for good stories, but they also have a talented core of players that most teams would love to have. Players like Adam Jones, Matt Wieters, J.J. Hardy, Nick Markakis, Chris Davis and Jim Johnson, along with a top prospect that has arrived in Manny Machado. A pitcher like Darren O’Day has pitched this well before. A young pitcher like Brian Matusz was a first-round pick that was expected to be good.
Showalter would be the first to say he’s got a little something to work with, even if some others are slow to come around to that concept.
If you spend any time around New York Yankees press conferences, as Baltimore reporters have in recent days, you quickly learn that Joe Girardi gets asked about Alex Rodriguez often.
It happened again yesterday. With A-Rod just 1-for-9 in this series with five strikeouts, Girardi was asked if he is considering any lineup changes involving Rodriguez tonight. He has batted third in both games so far.
“Well, I mean, I think that we’re going to do whatever it takes to win this threeâ€‘game series,” the Yankees manager said. “Nothing that we do will be something that is just a kneeâ€‘jerk reaction. You know, we talk about different things, and whether it’s a pitching change or pitching situations. We know, the great thing about this is I have a great group of guys that’s very unselfish, and they really want to win. And that’s what we’re going to do, what we think is best to win.”
I’ll take that as not a specific answer to the question about Rodriguez, who has had just every at-bat this year hitting either third or fourth in their order.
Meanwhile, one reason Girardi may have held Hiroki Kuroda back to pitch tonight is his success at Yankee Stadium this year. Kuroda has an ERA of 4.23 on the road, but is 11-6 with a 2.72 ERA and .219 average against in 19 home starts.
“Well, we haven’t seen year after year after year, so it’s hard for me to say being around him just for the first time this year,” Girardi said. “But he seems to do very well in our ballpark. He seems to know how to pitch to our ballpark, and that could have something to do with it.
“But he’s been very good at home. It’s one of the reasons that we talked about him pitching at home, plus we thought the extra rest would really help him, the couple days, instead of him having to go on his fifth day again.”
For your listening pleasure here is some Orioles audio to check out.