We’re down to the final workout before Game 1 of the Division Series. One more day and Camden Yards comes alive again - dressed in orange, volume cranked to the maximum.
The 5:37 p.m. starting time may not suit everyone, but why complain when the alternative is spending the postseason on your couch? As Orioles manager Buck Showalter says, you show up when they tell you and you play the games.
Chris Tillman opposes Max Scherzer in Game 1. Showalter should clue us in on the rest of his rotation this afternoon.
Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez and Bud Norris. We just need confirmation on the order.
The Tigers are sending three Cy Young Award winners to the mound in Scherzer (2013), Justin Verlander (2011) and David Price (2012). Rick Porcello must be rummaging through the attic for his participation trophy from junior high school.
While the Tigers appear to hold a decided edge in starting rotation, the Orioles’ 3.61 ERA ranked sixth in the American League. The Tigers’ 3.89 ERA ranked 10th.
How’s that for an edge?
How this for an interview with executive vice president Dan Duquette?
On his thoughts on the team heading into the ALDS
“This is a team that won 96 games and did well in the division. We get a chance to play in the postseason. I think the guys are excited about it. We have some more work to do, but I think we have a good group of guys. They’re looking forward to the challenge.”
On the Tigers having three former Cy Young winners
“It’s a great opportunity for our team and our hitters. I’m not sure anybody has ever faced that many in a playoff situation. It will be a stern test and I think our guys are looking forward to the challenge.”
On the Orioles having the lower ERA among its starters
“I noticed that in the matchups. For the people who say we don’t have enough pitching, all I can say is this is the best pitching the Orioles have had since 1979. I’ll take my chances with this group. We have a lot of guys who can throw strikes and like to compete.”
On the Orioles’ pitching depth
“We’ve got some good pitching depth. It’s real solid. Guys all through the pitching staff have done a good job this year. We think we have the pitching depth to compete well in this series.”
On whether he’s concerned about the seven errors in 10 games at third base
(Laughs) “That’s a limited sample. If you take a longer look at the work of the players who have been playing there, they’ve shown that they’re better than the last 10 games. I think people should take a longer look. I think we’ll be able to catch the ball. Our team defense has been pretty consistent this year.”
On Chris Davis being an option later in the playoffs if the Orioles advance
“He’s doing well down in Florida. That’s a possibility. He’d be eligible for a full World Series and it’s possible that he could be eligible for a portion of the League (Championship) Series. In the meantime, we’re getting ready to do our best against the Tigers. That’s where we’ve got to put our energy and focus.”
On the differences between the 2012 and 2014 playoff teams
“We have more players with experience on this roster. We have the home run champion (Nelson Cruz). We have three pitchers with at least 13 wins. We have a really strong bullpen, too. I think the biggest difference is the quality of the starting pitching. This year’s club has more skilled starting pitchers than we had in 2012.”
On Cruz and Delmon Young
“The other thing I like about the roster is that Nelson Cruz and Delmon Young have consistent excellent performances in the postseason. They’ve got a proven track record. So, we have them on our ballclub, also, since 2012. Delmon’s had a good year. He hit over .300 and he’s the best pinch-hitter in the American League. He’s also a proven postseason hitter. I like our chances with this ballclub. Guys are having fun.”
On the 25-man roster for the Division Series
“We’re giving careful consideration for our strongest club. We’re still working on that. But we should have some good, solid depth on this ballclub with the 25 men we’re asking to go out there and represent the Orioles. It’s a hard-working club and these guys earned the opportunity to go to the postseason.”
Davis started at third base again yesterday in the instructional league and hit his first home run, a three-run shot to straightaway center field against a left-hander at Ed Smith Stadium. He hit a slider.
Davis handled all five chances at third base over five innings and started a 5-4-3 double play after backhanding the ball.