Has injury been added to a 2-1 loss to the Yankees?
Wieters was drilled by an Ivan Nova pitch to load the bases with two outs before Pedro Alvarez popped up. He stayed in the game, but would have been lifted for a pinch-runner if he reached in the eighth instead of grounding into a double play.
The bench already was short tonight with Chris Davis at the team hotel with a stomach virus and Hyun Soo Kim still recovering from a strained right hamstring. Outfielder Joey Rickard and catcher Caleb Joseph were the only available reserves, which influenced some decisions made by manager Buck Showalter.
Alvarez and Ryan Flaherty were allowed to bat against Yankees lefty Aroldis Chapman in the ninth inning, but they’re also two of the better fastball hitters on the team, as Showalter pointed out later. Alvarez grounded out, making him 0-for-13 with eight strikeouts against Chapman, and Flaherty followed a Nolan Reimold walk by shattering his bat on a slow roller to second.
Kevin Gausman fell to 1-7 despite retiring 12 batters in row and holding the Yankees to two runs over 6 2/3 innings.
Here are an assortment of quotes following the loss, which dropped the Orioles to 53-38 and reduced their lead to 1 1/2 games in the American League East:
Showalter on Gausman being a hard-luck loser: “He really pitched well. Things get magnified so much when you don’t score many runs. You have to tip your hat to Nova, but Kevin was impressive. He had good stuff. He didn’t make many mistakes. I was a little concerned with him having 11 days off with the break with what his command would be like, but it’s a real tribute to the work he and the pitching coaches do to stay sharp through this. I knew he was going to be strong tonight, but you would have liked for him to have more to show for it.”
Showalter on what clicked for Gausman after early struggles: “I thought he commanded his fastball a little bit better. He actually got, I don’t want to say worn down. He got some of the 11 days off out of his system. He threw some good breaking balls, too. I thought he got into some good sequences with the hitters.”
Showalter on Gausman wishing he had more fluid starts to his outings: “It’s tough. It’s kind of like prizefighters, kind of feeling their way around early, trying to get into a rhythm and a tempo and same way tonight. There were like 130 pitches thrown before we played four innings. Sometimes, it kind of works to your favor. Then he found his step and you saw the tempo of the game pick up. He got into a little more of an attack mode.”
Showalter on Wieters: “Matt went to get an X-Ray on his foot. It was pretty sore. We only had two guys on the bench tonight. Chris stayed at the hotel. I wasn’t going to broadcast that before the game. There wasn’t much we could do, but Matt, that last at-bat, we probably would have run for him if he was on base.
“Just real sore. I’m waiting on a little anxiety about what it’s going to show, this X-ray here.
“Chris stayed at the hotel tonight. Kim, we’re planning on him participating in the sim game tomorrow around 2:15. We’ll need to make a decision there because today was day eight he hasn’t played. Obviously, 10, you’re not gaining a whole lot. He’s a good player. He’s been a big part of it. Hopefully, we get him and Chris back shortly and Darren (O’Day). Those are three guys we’d like to get back.”
Showalter on short bench influencing his decisions: “Yeah, of course it does. Two of our better fastball hitters are Pete and Ryan. That’s just, see if you can collide with one. We’re looking for a collision there.”
Showalter on Nova: “He was wildly effective a little bit. He’s got a lot of two-seam movement. He’s one of the top groundball throwers in baseball. Look out there at his ERA, you wouldn’t think that watching tonight. He had, what 10 days off? He probably freshened up his arm a little bit, too.”
Adam Jones on Nova: “That boy was running that two-seamer in on us, but to our credit, we hit a lot of balls hard. Flash just missed a home run by centimeters and then lined out on a ball he hit even harder. (Jacoby) Ellsbury made a great play on it. (Kevin) Gardner made some good plays out in left. We had good at-bats, I feel. He made good pitches. Tip your cap. But also, Gausman threw a hell of a game.”
Jones on feeling bad for Gausman: “I feel for him a lot. We just haven’t scored runs for him. It’s just part of it. I know he understands that he can only control what he can control. If this was the National League, he’d be able to hit and probably go deep and help himself a little bit. But hey, he’s grinding. I love what he’s doing, I love his pedigree, I love that he went back out there and worked himself into the seventh, especially when he was north of 90 pitches. Those are the things that you look for for him to build himself up and just become better, to get more confidence.
“I think our last two starters, (Dylan) Bundy and him, personally I think they’re getting a lot more confidence and we’ve just got to get some offense right now. The last four games to start the second half, we just haven’t clicked offensively yet, but time will tell.”
Jones on Yankees trio of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Chapman: “They’re good for a reason, but they don’t walk around with zero ERAs. You’ve just got to try to square something up. We squared a couple balls up. J.J. (Hardy), I thought he got it off Chapman. Nolan lining out off Betances. Good at-bats off Miller. The double play ball that Wieters hit, he really hit it hard but right at the guy, so there’s nothing you can do about it.
“Everyone looks at the failures and the defeat, but I look at the battles and the level of competition, the grind that everybody’s grinding through. We’re giving our efforts and just coming up a little short right now.”
Jones on his throw to the plate on Brian McCann’s sacrifice fly: “To throw out a guy like Gardner from that distance, you’d probably need a Roberto Clemente-type arm. I don’t possess that. But the most important thing, I kept the ball down. Obviously, you never know what could happen. I might try a trick play that I’ve been doing in BP, but I think I might break it out in a game one of these days to get one of these guys who are trying to time it to leave early.
“In reality, I had no shot, but kept the ball down and it kept (Carlos) Beltran from advancing to second base.”
Gausman on how he was able to get on a roll: “I think just mixing in pitches. I think early in the game, obviously came out swinging for my fastball and once I was able to throw my off-speed for strikes, and not for strikes when I needed it, it made my fastball that much better. That’s always kind of the key for every starter.”
Gausman on slow start: “Yeah, I got off to a little bit of a slow start. I didn’t feel as good to start the game, obviously, as I did toward the end of the start. I wish I could take back one pitch. That was really it. Even McCann’s (sac fly), he kind of got it just deep enough to get that run in. But I felt like I kind of locked in and got better as the game went on, so there’s really not much you can do.”
Gausman on whether he was rusty: “There was definitely a little rust. I think in between innings was when I was most rusty. I think I bounced every breaking ball I threw to Wieters in between innings, so that’s one of those things, you try to throw a little bit more between innings and get it right and get your mechanics back.
“I think no matter how many bullpens you throw in between the break, it’s going to be difficult. With Yovani (Gallardo), he had to pitch the first game. I think that’s literally the toughest game to start, the first game coming out of the break. This first time around, I think we’ve been pitching really well and obviously I wish we would have come out with a win, but what can you do?”