Some Orioles quotes and thoughts

*The Orioles 7-5 win over the Tigers this afternoon was the kind of win that typically –especially in years past — would have the clubhouse celebrating after like it was the World Series. And while there was music playing and plenty of good moods all around in Detroit, more and more this team starts to give off the sense –at least to me — that it’s just another day’s work.

Manager Buck Showalter has gone to great lengths to keep his team focused, not on just being .500 or just winning the series, but on on winning every game, every day. And that feeling is becoming more evident among this group every day. Yes, they were happy to take two of three from a Tigers team that hadn’t lost a series since June 5-7 versus Cleveland. But multiple players still pointed out in their post-game interviews that they should have won Friday’s game.  That they didn’t let that emotion carry over, in what was arguably the most fired-up clubhouse I’ve seen all year, is a testament to the maturity this relatively young and inexperienced club has.

“That first game was tough,” said shortstop J.J. Hardy, who agreed taking the series puts the teams back on an emotional high heading to Texas.  “It was really tough. It was good to see this team bounce back the way we did.”

Twice now, the Orioles have rallied from five-run deficits in the first inning on the road: Detroit and New York. Those are tough places to play for any team and the kind of wins that build character.

*How good of a pickup has Wei-Yin Chen been for the Orioles? He has 12 wins now and is the first Oriole rookie since Daniel Cabrera in 2004 to hit that mark. On Sunday, Chen looked like he wasn’t going to make it past the first out — when Steve Johnson got up in the bullpen and started stretching — but managed to go five innings, earning high praise from Showalter, Tigers manager Jim Leyland and Chen’s teammates.

“He’s a tough dude,” reliever Darren O’Day said. “A lot of people don’t expect that, but he really is. He’s done it before, did it against the Rays earlier in the year when they were dropping bunts all over the field in the first inning, he came back and gave us five or six [innings] like that. So, he’s got a track record and sometimes you got to do that. It’s a pretty awesome job by him.”

And if there was still any doubt about Chen’s mentality, here’s his final quote from this afternoon.

“Every game is challenging for me,” Chen said through his interpreter. “And every game is challenging for this team. Right now, my only hope is to help the team get to the playoffs. That’s my only dream right now, my only goal.”

*The Orioles have a few roster decisions to make moving forward with an off-day on Thursday. The team is currently playing with an extra pitcher and a three-man bench.

With right-hander Steve Johnson — who last pitched on Thursday — serving as the long man, Showalter said the Orioles will continue to operate on a day-to-day basis. They are trying to keep their bullpen healthy and productive while also waiting to see if first baseman Mark Reynolds incurs any kind of suspension for his ejection on Friday.

It’s unlikely Reynolds is suspended and I think you will see Johnson serve as the long man in Texas, as needed with a short bench for now. The Orioles will pitch Miguel Gonzalez and Chris Tillman the first two games and if either has a short start, Johnson will be the guy. If he gets used in a long relief outing, I could also see them optioning him to get a fresh arm.  It’s important to note the Orioles haven’t ruled out Johnson as a starter for them this year, but with the way the schedule lines up it looks like the roster will continue to be a daily juggling act.

It seems likely the team will also keep Zach Britton –coming off his best start of the season — with the big league club, although what they will do with the rotation following Thursday’s day off is unclear. The Orioles could opt to stay with a five-man rotation and give each pitcher an extra day of rest, or option a pitcher and add either a reliever or another bench player.  You can read more on that here.

*I’ve been asked a few times about the status of some of the Orioles’ injured players so here’s what I’ve got. Wilson Betemit and Troy Patton are in Sarasota, Fla. receiving treatment and both are thought to be more than a week away. Jim Thome is home in Chicago and told me before he left he was going to be clear to swing a bat in early September. Since he doesn’t play the field, his return could be soon after that.

Jason Hammel is also still targeting an early September return and will throw another bullpen on Monday at about 90 percent effort. Hammel, who has been traveling with the team, hopes to do some fielding practice and test his knee more later in the week if all goes well on Monday. Showalter has been cautious with putting a timeframe on it, but did say that the team feels pretty good about where Hammel is so soon after right knee surgery. The key is really minimizing the soreness that is still back behind that knee.

*Did anyone see this coming with the bullpen? The Orioles are 51-0 when leading after seven innings this season and nearly every night the starting pitcher will single out the effort of the guys who come in after him. On Sunday afternoon Luis Ayala, Darren O’Day, Pedro Strop and closer Jim Johnson combined to post four scoreless innings lowering the ‘pen’s ERA to 1.56 over the last 16 games.

Johnson, who is on pace for a record-breaking season, picked up his 37th save, second most in the Majors and putting him in a tie for the second most in a single season in Orioles history with a 1-2-3 ninth. Showalter loves singling out how hard it is to close out one-run games on the road, and 23 of Johnson’s 37 saves this season have come away from Camden Yards.

He’s a guy who doesn’t want a lot of credit, but has had a heavy hand in this year’s success.

*Rookie Manny Machado has hit safely in seven of his first 10 Major League games, with three multi-hit efforts over that time. Seven of his 10 hits have been for extra bases with three doubles, three home runs and a triple. His defense has been equally impressive, with several of the Orioles noting how impressive his arm is. Showalter said it was “as advertised” this spring, although Machado took a lot of road trips and long bus rides as a rookie unofficially in camp, meaning a lot of the Oriole starters didn’t get to see him play much.

*Mark Reynolds, who won a lot of fans over with his comments following Friday’s ejection, has put together a nice stretch for the past two weeks. He is hitting .368 (14-for-38) with five walks, eight extra-base hits, seven runs scored and 10 RBIs over his last 13 games.

I don’t think it’s any secret what Reynolds is capable of doing for this club if he can keep hitting. There’s arguably no other Orioles player in the lineup with as much of an impact on their postseason chances than Reynolds.

9 Comments

Brittany, I love you. I expect to see you on ESPN one day soon.
Timonium Bob

Somewhat frivolous question about Machado.. With him only having the last couple of months of the season on the big league roster, he has a nonexistent chance to win Rookie of the Year. Also, assuming his production at the plate stays consistent through the remainder of this year and next, as well as the potential postseason play, (trying to count chickens before they hatch) it’s likely, if not certain, that he’ll be on the starting roster for next year’s opening day. Would then he still be recognized as a rookie and eligible for the ROY? Or would that ship have sailed at that point because of his playing time this year? Just curios..

yes, he can be rookie of the year next year.
similar to Cal.

“Determining rookie status:
A player shall be considered a rookie unless, during a previous season or seasons, he has (a) exceeded 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the Major Leagues; or (b) accumulated more than 45 days on the active roster of a Major League club or clubs during the period of 25-player limit (excluding time in the military service and time on the disabled list).”

From: http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/official_info/about_mlb/rules_regulations.jsp

Manny’s debut was on 8/9 and the 25-player limit roster ends on September 1st. So that’s only 24 days, he’ll be fine by that aspect.

Manny currently has 37 ABs over his first 10 games. There are 41 games left in the regular season. If he continues to average 3.7 ABs per game (kind of on the high side for someone at the bottom of the line-up) that will about 152 additional ABs putting him at 189 ABs. So unless Manny get’s the day off for 16 of those final 41 games he’s not going to qualify as a rookie next year.

Cal, only had 39 ABs in his first season.

Great to see McLouth doing such a great job. I didn’t expect this type of contribution from him and stand corrected in questioning his recall. Unfortunately, this doesn’t leave much room for Lew ford to play. Is he okay? If so, I wish Buck could get him there somewhere. Maybe a night off for Chris Davis or something?

If this team win series rest of the year there on pace to win 93games. if the orioles just win 26 more games ill be happy. and keep our fingers cross that angles don’t rip this team apart like he did in 97. because they were winning. if the orioles have an in house answer to 2nd base i hope they bring that player up in Sept. to see if that player can play in the majors . i bring up bundy give him a taste being in a pennate race. then this off season get a layoff hitter wouldn’t ortiz. look good as the orioles dh . if his legs are ok. get a left hand Pedro stroke type in the pin. get a number one starter. Resign the pin back except for Gregg. find a good back up catcher. resign Reynolds with an incentive deal. to play first . and next year the orioles should go to the world series and maybe a good run for 5 to 7 years. right now the orioles are showing hart after the way they won the Detroit series. If they can win or sweep Texas. then ill finally say i think this team might go to the playoffs. in years pass the orioles had the talent but couldn’t win. this year they have the fight and hart to win and you can credit that to buck . i don’t write long replies but this time . i just wanted to speak my mind.

Ment to day 16 games sorry for the miss type

Layoff was ment to be leadoff

I see nothing wrong with the way Quintanilla has been handling 2nd base so he is the “in house” solution. Forget Ortiz – he doesn’t want to leave Boston and he’s getting a little injury prone. We don’t need an “only DH” player which is why I still question the Thome acquisition. I agree with two things – dump Gregg and find a real backup catcher. I see the Matusz experiment isn’t going well at Norfolk so forget about him “period” – he’s done-move him now while he still has a little valve (if he still does). Finally, do not under any circumstances bring up Dylan Bundy this year. I think the Orioles have screwed up enough young pitchers by throwing them into the fire far-far too soon.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 249 other followers

%d bloggers like this: