SARASOTA, Fla. - Mark Hendrickson allowed two runs in the eighth inning and the Pirates handed the Orioles another loss, 4-2, at McKechnie Field.
The Orioles sent Chris Parmelee, Ryan Lavarnway and Jayson Nix to the plate in the top of the ninth and they were retired in order.
For folks panicking over another defeat, Hendrickson won’t be working the eighth inning of a tie game in the regular season and manager Buck Showalter won’t be removing his regulars or leaving them behind. Don’t read too much into a 3-11 record.
Here’s a sampling of Showalter’s postgame remarks:
On Wei-Yin Chen: “Pretty good. A hot, sticky day. He got his work in. It’s OK. He’d give us a chance to win during the regular season. His changeup was good. He’s made some real strides with that. You can tell in his lack of reluctance to throw it. I’m not sure if it’s the new grip. He wasn’t throwing it this much last year. I think he knows it might help to take him to another level. His changeup has been good.”
On Chen’s confidence in changeup: “You can tell he has no reluctance to throw it, and as important the catchers aren’t reluctant to call it. I don’t care what you do down here, there’s a point in the season where, is it going to play there, too? Is he going to have that same confidence? Like he says, the hitters will tell you how it looks. I love the arm speed on it and I like the confidence he’s showing in it. He didn’t do that as much last year. We almost had to force him to throw it.”
On Mike Wright: “Mike’s throwing the ball good. Down the road you don’t know what he’s actually going to be for us. Right now you look at him as both. He was a real highlight today.”
On Steve Pearce: “It doesn’t surprise me. We’ve actually played him less than we normally do, trying to kind of slow down. He could have more of a role like he had last year compared to in years past. Stevie’s locked in every at-bat. He’s firing on all cylinders. You know what you’re going to get every day. That’s why everybody likes him so much.”
On Steve Johnson: “Good, good. His last two outings, that’s kind of like the Steve that we ... Late-life fastball, command. You can see it in his face a little bit. He’ll get the curveball going a little bit here before long. That’s a touch and feel. That’s usually the last thing to come with those guys with some surgeries. It’s really feeling the ball in their hand. But that’s getting closer to the guy that was successful for us, so that’s really good to see.”
On whether Johnson projects as starter or reliever in Triple-A: “That’s something we’ve got to decide. We’re going to keep him a little while and make sure we can continue down the road we’re going on and try to stretch him out when he and Wally (Dave Wallace) and the medical people think so. I know what the thought is right now. We’re trying to keep an open mind on where it’s going to take us. It won’t be what’s available in Triple-A, it will be what best serves Steve.”