Orioles manager Buck Showalter has been complimenting Adam Jones at every opportunity this week as the outfield approaches what’s expected to be his final game in the organization. Tonight gave Jones the chance to return the favor as Showalter’s status remains in question.
Jones didn’t sound like someone who anticipates Showalter being back next season.
“I think for the franchise it’s just meant accountability,” Jones said following a 5-2 loss in Game 2 that completed the Astros’ sweep at Camden Yards.
“I think he holds everybody accountable. He holds himself to a high standard, he holds his players to a high standard and at the end of the day that’s all we ask. He’s not my father, he’s not anything like that, but he’s the manager and he’s the leader of the team and we go with his heartbeat.
“He’s always been focused and in the game, so if the coaching staff can be focused in the game, I think the players can, too. That’s one thing, the day I came here I saw that. Just show up to work, play hard and go home. After that, he has no excuses. If you try to make excuses and all that kind of stuff, that’s when you fall into the bad graces of folks.
“I just think ever since he came here on Aug. 3, 2010, the franchise just gained a little more accountability, gained an edge for some time and it’s the end of an era on his part, too. A great manager, a great tenure. I don’t know if he’s going to coach or manage again, but he’s got grandchildren. Hell, go golf. Relax and go sit on the golf course.”
There’s one more game to be played and Jimmy Yacabonis will make the start in Sunday afternoon’s finale. Showalter was considering Sean Gilmartin or Mike Wright Jr., but he needed them tonight in relief.
It’s felt as though Showalter has been in survival mode the past few weeks.
“That would be ... I’m not going to go there,” he said. “That sounds like an excuse. I look at it as an opportunity to see some people in situations they might not be in. It is what it is and you try to take some positives out of it.
“A lot of it has got to do with, we’ve got eight to 10 guys down physically, too. As far back as (Pedro) Araujo, (Gabriel) Ynoa. I can keep going. So, a lot of people that we thought would be depth haven’t been able to answer the bell, so it is what it is. ... It’s been a challenge. It takes a lot of imagination and you have to stay on top of every inning, but there’s a lot tougher things going on in this world than trying to figure out who can and will pitch.”
Yefry Ramírez worked a career-high six innings on 107 pitches while allowing three run and six hits.
“Pretty good,” Showalter said. “We’re just not doing much offensively against some good pitching. How many runs did we score in 18 innings? Not many, obviously. It’s good to see him and Dylan (Bundy) and David (Hess) with some competitive outings. We just didn’t do much offensively and didn’t support them real defensively. But they did their part to give us a chance to win. That’s what I’ll take out of these first three games.
“Two or three of the guys have gotten better. Some of them are just going through growing pains. As the year’s moved on, his velocity has gone up. The job that Roger (McDowell) has done with him on the slider, a pitch he didn’t really have, has really kind of made him competitive. He came basically with fastball, changeup and developing breaking ball. Really, it was a curveball. Really, his changeup hasn’t been as consistent for him as it was. Sometimes, when guys start throwing a little different breaking ball, they kind of lose the feel for another pitch. But once he gets that going ...”
Ramírez called the 2018 season a learning experience through his 12 starts and 17 appearances.
“Most important is to learn from this experience, try to avoid the same mistakes,” he said. “I made some mistakes tonight. I also made some mistakes against the Yankees. I’m going to try to learn and try to avoid those mistakes again.
“Right now, I’m concentrating on the offseason. Trying to work really hard, get myself ready and try to compete for a job.”