It has been 12 days since the Orioles hired Buck Showalter, 9 days since his introductory press conference, and 8 games with him at the helm. All of those numbers are noteworthy, but none more so than the number 1. One loss. And that one loss wasn’t exactly a blowout. Let’s really break it down, here…
- 7 straight quality starts (minimum 6 innings, maximum 3 earned runs) before last night
- 8 straight games with the starting pitcher pitching into the 6th inning or beyond
- 9 runs per game average
- Countless fans left shaking their heads as they watch their team do the things they didn’t think were still possible
Anyone who knows me knows that I think Dave Trembley got a raw deal here, but I need to go on record and admit that they should NOT have brought him back this year. I thought Trembley deserved a chance to lead a team that had reasonable expectations to win, but he was not ready for that, and it showed. Juan Samuel had a thankless job, and he performed it admirably. But Showalter is EXACTLY what this team needed and needs. He not only has the acumen and attention to detail, he has the proven track record that gives everything he says instant gravitas
The biggest difference I have noticed is how Showalter is letting the players know that they have a job to do. He is letting his pitchers work through jams (something that is a lot easier to do when you have a 3 year contract along with guarantees that you will be allowed to run the team the way you want to, which Trembley and Samuel never had), and he is taking young players aside to talk to them (and more importantly to coach them). He talked to Josh Bell about making sure he is staying properly hydrated after he had 2 separate bouts of leg cramps pull him out of games. He took a moment to sit next to Arrieta last night after that tough 4th inning, and then he put him back out there and let him battle. Felix Pie and Adam Jones are playing with more purpose, because they know that when Buck said that he is going to find those “nuggets” that they have the chance to be a nugget, or they could be an afterthought.
Now with all that being said, having Luke Scott go on a hot streak (10 HR in his last 22 games) and having Brian Roberts back and getting comfortable again, as well as Pie finding his groove after an extended absence have all helped Showalter in the same way that they hurt Trembley and Samuel. But I have to believe that even with all of that, the biggest difference is the man behind the men.
By the way, that new emotion? Fun. The last week (even the loss) has been fun. Last night was a BLAST. 1st pick be damned, I say we keep going for a while.
About the Author
Written by Ron Burr
Ron is a lifelong resident of Maryland and has been a passionate player and fan of sports for as long as he can remember. When he is not watching the games or explaining to his lovely wife why he is cursing at the television, he runs an improv/sketch comedy troupe, Drop Three. He can't hit a curveball or run a sub 4.5 40 yard dash, but he knows the games and loves talking about it with anyone. Differing opinions are welcome and encouraged!