Most of the postgame talk in the Orioles clubhouse was about right-hander Mike Wright. In desperate need of a good outing, he got one tonight. Seven innings and one unearned run against Kansas City in the Orioles’ 4-1 win.
He needed just 95 pitches to throw seven innings. Five days after giving up four homers in 2 2/3 innings to the Red Sox and briefly being optioned to the minors, he came back driven and hungry for a win.
“I think the focus he had tonight was big,” catcher Matt Wieters said. “Right from the get-go you could tell he was focusing all his energy on making every pitch. Which was big for him, to zone in and sort of take each pitch by itself. I know he’ll take the positives from tonight and be able to apply them in other starts.”
Is it hard to have such sharp focus each start?
“Results are hard to do, but as far as the drive and focus, we all strive for that as athletes. That can separate you from some of the other guys,” Wieters said.
Wright tied his season-high in going seven innings and is now 3-3 with an ERA of 5.14 and the Orioles are 7-3 in his 10 starts. Wieters was asked if Wright’s emotions were in check tonight.
“I think he focused it more on his delivery and his pitches tonight, which was big,” Wieters said. “You don’t want to take that energy away from a guy - it is why he has such a great arm and can throw great pitches. But tonight he focused that energy on each pitch which was big for him.”
Here is Manny Machado’s take on Wright: “We hope he keeps bringing that every day. He is one of our elite pitchers up here and he needs to keep pounding the zone. He came out here with a vengeance. No one wants to get sent down. His next start he needs to come out here and do the same thing. We know what he is capable of.”
Wright clearly sounded like a pitcher determined to produce better results tonight.
“When you get sent down and recalled the next day, you have to come out and perform,” he said. “I had a little bit more focus. I just tried to keep the ball down today and let our Gold Glove infield work. I was keeping the ball down and getting good results, simple as that is. That is what I’m going to keep trying to do.
“I had some stuff to work on. I didn’t get down to Norfolk to work on it. But you can do a lot of stuff mentally, reps after reps in your head, it’s the same thing.”
This was Wright’s fourth quality start. He allowed five hits with two walks and four strikeouts. He watched video of most of his earlier outings the day after his last start.
“I saw the pitches that I was executing well and the good results were pitches down,” he said. “So what do you need to work on? Keeping the ball down. Not missing by two feet, missing by an inch or two and executing pitches. It is good that I got another opportunity (from Buck Showalter). A do-over. You have to take your opportunites and run with them.”
MORE CLUBHOUSE QUOTES
More with Wieters on Wright: “He threw the ball great. You can tell he put a lot of work in throughout the week to get ready to pitch tonight. The command was there. He was able to mix in his offspeed stuff just enough. That is a good fastball-hitting lineup and he really had to locate tonight. Tonight you had the feeling that hey, Mike is keeping us in there, we’ll get a shot eventually. It’s in there, it’s in all of the starters. Mike really put it together for a full game tonight.”
Machado on the offense and the win: “It is getting to the point where we have to play as a team and separate ourselves and put ourselves on the map. We have one goal - to be the last team standing. Our pitching staff is keeping us in games and giving us the chance to hit the ball out of the ballpark.”
Jonathan Schoop on his throw that hit Chelsor Cuthbert: “When Manny caught the ball I thought, let me try to pump fake and then throw the ball to third base. But I couldn’t stop the ball and I apologize.”
Mark Trumbo leads the AL with 19 homers and tonight his the 150th of his career. Trumbo is batting .409 the last six games with four homers and seven RBIs.
Adam Jones recorded a double in the seventh, tying Brady Anderson for first in extra-base hits at Oriole Park with 243. Wieters hit his 100th homer as a catcher tonight and he has 17 RBIs his last 19 games. Brad Brach has an 0.88 ERA in 25 games this year.