Mar 15, 2014; Sarasota, FL, USA; Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter (26) talks in the dugout against the New York Yankees at Ed Smith Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Orioles: Time for a Buck Showalter Clubhouse Rant?


I’ll just say it up front: the Toronto series this past weekend was the most poorly-played set of games I have witnessed out of a Baltimore Orioles team in the Showalter era.

It was more than just the throwing errors that threw away the first game, or the combined 3-for-20 with runners in scoring position (and even one of those three hits did not actually score a run) or the combined five runs in 30 innings.

Rather, it was a collection of the other little things that make a difference – the negative things the Orioles don’t generally do, or the intangible extra things they generally get done that many others would not.

Twice, outfielders “circled their way” casually to get a base hit, allowing the batter to get an extra base. Pitches got away from catchers, throws were off line or missed the cutoff.

I don’t understand the sudden conservative base-running approach when scoring is at such a premium. I don’t get the pitch selection that has a third-pitch fastball down the middle after the hitter was completely unable to handle two off-speed pitches.

This Toronto team, as currently constructed, is not honestly a great outfit. But I’ll give them tons of credit. Colby Rasmus had an amazing series. But beyond that, they could make a whole highlight reel of defensive gems simply from this series. They looked quick, light, and competitive. The Orioles appeared tired, heavy-footed, and going through motions. It simply looked like the guys in blue were the guys we normally see in orange and black.

I love Showalter’s style of managing – the personable, encouraging approach that works to bring out the best in another person. It is the way I did it in my high school coaching career. I believe it is the way to gain the highest level of group human performance. But even so, there comes a time once in a while to go off on a rant when the atmosphere seems to have made a categorical change – like when the other team looks more like you than you look like you.

If you get beat simply because the other team is better, well … cool … they’re better at least on that day. But the Blue Jays are not better. Their pitching – even Buehrle yesterday – is not that great compared to other teams that will be seen. The Orioles were 22-for-108 (.204) in the series.

So, if Showalter chooses to take off on a rant, we’ll not hear about it from outside the clubhouse, and that is good. It just seems like maybe it is a time for such to happen.

OK… enough ranting from me … let’s look ahead to the Tampa Bay series and to the opening game this evening.

Orioles / Rays Preview

The Rays have had a number of pitching injuries and set-backs this spring, but true to form they always seem to have another young pitcher nearby. One of the rising crop is the young right-hander the Orioles will face tonight – Chris Archer.

Archer will be starting his third game of the season, having thrown two good outings already – giving up only two runs in six innings against the Blue Jays, and then pitching seven shut-out innings against the Royals. This adds to a 1.38 ERA so far.

The Orioles do not have much history against the young hurler. Chris Davis has a homer in four at bats. Machado is 3-for-7, but, he won’t be in the lineup.  J.J. Hardy is 0-for-7.

Baltimore will run Wei-Yin Chen to the mound for the third time as well. Against the Red Sox and Yankees this year, Chen gave up four earned runs in each game – failing to get through six innings each time.

Over his career of eight starts against Tampa Bay, Chen is 2-3 with a very good ERA of 3.04 in 50 innings of pitching. Other than Ben Zobrist’s 10-for-23 (.435) against Chen, the Orioles’ pitcher has pretty good numbers against the rest of the Rays lineup…

 

AB

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

BA

Ben Zobrist

23

10

1

0

1

3

1

5

.435

Desmond Jennings

18

2

1

0

0

0

1

1

.111

Sean Rodriguez

15

2

1

0

1

2

2

2

.133

Evan Longoria

12

2

0

0

0

0

1

3

.167

Yunel Escobar

10

1

1

0

0

0

0

1

.100

Matthew Joyce

4

1

0

0

0

0

2

0

.250

Jose Molina

5

2

1

0

0

1

1

1

.400

Wil Myers

4

1

0

0

0

0

1

1

.250

 

The Orioles need a win tonight. They don’t want to fall to 5-8, facing 5-9, and then knowing that David Price is waiting for them in the third game.

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Tags: Baltimore Orioles Buck Showalter Wei-Yin Chen