Jones on O’s mindset: “Seems like a normal day at the office to us”

The Royals will start former Oriole Jeremy Guthrie in Game 3 on Monday at Kauffman Stadium. Jason Vargas is expected to start Game 4 the following night.

Guthrie is 2-1 with a 2.67 ERA in four career starts against the Orioles.

The Royals didn’t steal a base last night after leading the majors in that category with 153 during the regular season and swiping 12 in the playoffs - by eight different players. Jarrod Dyson appeared to steal second, but his foot came off the bag during an aggressive tag by Jonathan Schoop.

Handling the Royals’ running game has been a priority for the Orioles.

“What did they steal, five bases in seven games off us? Two of them were pitchouts that we dropped. Should have thrown them out,” said manager Buck Showalter.

“Yeah, I think the key was, for a team that doesn’t walk a lot, we let them walk six times and hit a guy. It’s obviously a weapon for them. Tilly (Chris Tillman) is really good at it. Bud (Norris) is athletic and has a good move to first base, but he’s a little slower to the plate.”

jones-presser-ALCS-Game2-sidebar.jpgThat’s one reason why Caleb Joseph is catching today, “but you can’t let every move and everything be dictated by that.

“Jon did a good job of staying with the tag. We talked about that before the series.”

Norris was chosen to start today after setting a single-season record at Camden Yards (minimum 10 starts) with a 2.44 ERA in 81 innings.

Going back to last night, Andrew Miller hit Alex Gordon with a fastball that deflected off the outfielder’s shoulder and struck his neck. Gordon stayed in the game. So did Miller after a visit from pitching coach Dave Wallace.

“We were more worried about Andrew because he didn’t react well to that,” Showalter said. “I asked Dave to go out there and make sure he got refocused a little bit.”

Tommy Hunter made his earliest appearance in two years last night, warming up in the third inning and entering with one out in the fifth. Kevin Gausman took over in the sixth.

“I thought he was the best to get us out of the inning,” Showalter said. “He would have continued if we hadn’t gotten a little closer in the game. I thought that was a good spot for Gaus.”

The media naturally is obsessed with the Royals hitting three home runs last night and the Orioles executing a double steal. Totally went against the script.

“That would be a great talking point,” Showalter said. “If you look at the number of home runs they’ve hit in the last month, that wouldn’t ... things change. And that’s why as a coach, manager, player, you can’t ever assume that something good or bad may show up. But it doesn’t surprise anybody.

“Especially keep in mind that the ballpark they play in... Our ballpark during certain times of the year plays big. I thought last night the ball wasn’t carrying very well. But I remember Terry Crowley used to tell me exactly what months it’s going to carry and what parts of the park. And he was right. So the conditions change, but the balls they hit would have been out anywhere.”

The Orioles didn’t have much time to shake off the Game 1 loss, since it ended after midnight and they have a 4:07 p.m. start for Game 2.

“The good thing is we don’t have to get anybody loose, because they’re still loose from last night,” Showalter quipped. “I’m not getting into start times. I’m sworn to double secret probation.

“It makes it more comfortable for the fans to see the games around the country. I get it, so do the players. We’ll get on the plane and head to Kansas City sometime tonight.”

The Orioles already seem to have left behind their 10-inning loss in Game 1.

Asked if there’s now a different tension or vibe to the preparation for Game 2, Showalter quipped, “Yeah, can’t you tell? God forbid we might get down two.

“The world doesn’t end,” he said. “That’s one of the strengths of our club is we don’t... Just like Kansas City. You don’t ‘woe is me, the sky is falling.’ I don’t know how people can live (like that). You turn the page emotionally and mentally and realize you put your best foot forward and that night it didn’t work out. But I’m not curious about today. I’m looking forward to the competition, just like our players are. These are the best players in the world and I got a great seat and I try to watch it.”

Center fielder Adam Jones also insisted that the mood hasn’t changed.

“Obviously, the games are more important now, but the mindset is the same,” he said. “They got last night, great game, but today is a new day. Today is a new opportunity for us to even the series. And the guys in that clubhouse, seems like a normal day at the office to us. We’re showing up, we’re all the same mindset, the same attitudes we always have. And we’ve got to go out and play a big league game.”

Showalter has no worries about reliever Darren O’Day recovering from the tie-breaking home run by Alex Gordon in the 10th inning.

Darren-O'Day-distressed-black.jpg“He’s a real mentally tough guy,” Showalter said. “For a guy that doesn’t throw 96, he has the mentality of a guy of that. He’s got some snarl in him. I think he handles success and failure very well.

“You kind of come from his background and the things he’s had to overcome over his career, he never assumes anything. Really good teammate and really, I wouldn’t say spiritual, he’s the guy that when they want a straight answer, they go to Darren. He’s not going to sugarcoat it. Be careful about what you want to know, because you may not like what he’s going to tell you. And through that he becomes a great self‑evaluator.

“I got a little ticked at him last night when he was coming off the mound. Not ticked, but I could tell he was kind of frustrated last night. He had a huge (ninth) inning. If it wasn’t for Darren O’Day, we wouldn’t even be sitting here today, we’d all be doing tee times. I wouldn’t, but they would.”

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