If last night’s game at Yankee Stadium is any indication, the Baltimore Orioles may well be on the right track in terms of their rebuild. Offensively, that is at least. The O’s found themselves behind early in New York behind starter Yefry Ramirez, but battled back valiantly. Ramirez’s line: 3.2 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 3 BB, 3 K.
The O’s spotted New York six runs, two of which came on a Gregorius two-run homer in the first inning. It was 6-0 after four innings. Conventional wisdom indicates that when you have a situation like that, maybe you mail it in so to speak. New York’s a contender, they’re home standing, and you have a group of young players on the team. Nobody would have blamed the O’s for “mailing it in.” But they didn’t do that.
Adam Jones started the comeback attempt with a two-RBI single in the fifth inning to cut the lead to 6-2. Two innings later Austin Wynns smacked a solo home run, and Jonathan Villar added an RBI-single. Before you knew it, the score was 6-4 in a game where New York had previously been coasting.
But New York added on, which should have been expected. McCutchen’s RBI-single in the last of the seventh ran the score to 7-4, and Voit’s two-RBI single later in the inning should have closed the door at 9-4. Notice I said should have closed the door. It didn’t totally close the door.
Renato Nunez‘s two-run homer put the Orioles right back into the game in the eighth inning. Later in the inning DJ Stewart added a two-run shot of his own, and the Birds were to within one at 9-8. However Judge’s RBI-single in the last of the eighth finally did close the door, and the O’s fell 10-8 in New York.
This isn’t a game which had to make New York happy to win. They’re a contending team, and they had to battle and scrape to win a game against a group of guys most people have never heard of. I think most people, including the New York players, thought the game was over at 6-0. Most people except the Orioles, that is. And that’s a welcome sight, because these young players showed last night that they don’t give up.
Prior to the game there were rumors floating about that the Orioles would not be retaining manager Buck Showalter after the season. In the same breath, there were rumors about Vice-President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette getting a new contract for 2019 and beyond. Both men’s deals are up after the season.
First off keep in mind that these are only rumors. And one thing that most people who disseminated them got wrong is that they said Showalter would be “fired” after the season. That’s incorrect, as his contract’s up. Granted the ends are the same, however it’s important to note that.
I’ve said this on twitter and I’ve at least alluded to it here in print in an indirect manner. But I feel it would be a huge mistake for the Orioles to not retain Showalter. There are few managers in the game who insist on the attention to detail and professionalism in the manner that Buck Showalter does. You rarely see Orioles’ players pulling some of the unprofessional stunts that players on other teams do; that’s because Buck runs a tight ship.
Buck Showalter’s been good for the community and good for the Orioles. In my view he at least deserves to be offered a chance to stay if he wants it. And I say it in that manner because for all we know if in fact he’s out after the season it’s more mutual than we know. Buck became a grandfather last year for the first time, and I have to believe that’s somewhat of a game-changer in life. So there’s every chance that perhaps he’s ready to not be in the dugout any longer at this stage of his life.
Again, I think he should be at least offered a contract. That’s not to say that there’s nobody else out there who could manage the Orioles. I’m sure that if in fact the front office finds itself looking for a manager after the season, they’ll have a plethora of very qualified candidates from which to choose. But there can be no doubt that Buck Showalter will be remembered in Baltimore fondly for some time – whenever the time comes that he’s finished.