After committing seven errors at third base in their final 10 games of the regular season, the Orioles were flawless in the field yesterday in the opener of the American League Division Series.
Try to figure out baseball. I dare you.
Ryan Flaherty didn’t burn his fingers on the hot corner. He made every play, including a clean grab of Torii Hunter’s bouncer with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth. He also walked and collected an RBI single in an eight-run eighth inning.
Flaherty is expected to remain at third base today in Game 2 with Justin Verlander on the mound for the Tigers. The Orioles will try to go Upton 2-0 in the series.
(You see what I did there.)
Flaherty batted .179 in August, but he hit .288 in September - his highest average of any month this season.
“Ryan’s been a contributor all year, sometimes by not even playing, the things that he allows us to do with some other players, that safety valve there,” said manager Buck Showalter.
“He’s going to end up with close to 300 plate appearances and he played six positions for us at a level that doesn’t make you hesitate playing him, and it’s allowed us to keep a lot of our guys healthy this year, where he can spell them now and then, as you’ve seen.”
Flaherty is 2-for-8 against Verlander, but it doesn’t really matter. He’s the most dependable glove on the team at third base, despite his inconsistencies over the past few weeks.
The Orioles are batting a collective .201 against Verlander, who’s 7-0 with a 2.84 ERA in eight starts at Camden Yards.
Adam Jones is 6-for-33 (.182) with a double and home run. Kelly Johnson is 0-for-14 with six strikeouts. Nelson Cruz and Alejandro De Aza are both 7-for-31 (.226).
Cruz has a double and three home runs, and De Aza has a double, triple, two home runs and 10 strikeouts.
J.J. Hardy is 8-for-34 (.235) with a double and three home runs. Nick Markakis is 12-for-48 (.250) with four doubles and a triple.
As I mentioned earlier this week, right-handers are batting .321 against Verlander this season and left-handers are hitting .239. Let’s see whether that influences Showalter’s lineup.
Delmon Young, anyone?
Will Showalter reveal his Game 3 starter today or wait until Saturday’s workout in Detroit?
Miguel Gonzalez is expected to take the mound, but we’ll see if that’s the case.