Orioles manager Buck Showalter speaks with the media before ALDS Game 2

October 08, 2012|By Eduardo A. Encina | The Baltimore Sun

Orioles manager Buck Showalter spoke with the media this afternoon before Game 2 of the ALDS at Camden Yards. Here's a full transcript of his press conference:


One of the hallmarks of the Yankees playoff teams over the last 15 years is the fact that they're so patient at the plate.  We saw that again last night.  How do you deal with that?

SHOWALTER:  It's hard.  It's part of what makes them good.  It's kind of like someone said, why does Randy Johnson throw so many pitches.  Well, not much comes out of his hand that you want to swing at that looks inviting, and on the flip side of that, they're good hitters.  Challenging them a lot of times down the middle of the plate is usually not a good idea.

But it's tough.  It's tough.  That's why everybody looks for that.  But they can very quickly get into that pass the baton mentality, and there's not many, if any, outs in their lineup.  It's a challenge that you have to face, and that's why some of our guys -- a lot of it has got to do with command, too.  I think it's not all that they're good hitters, but if you make good quality pitches, your pitch count will be down, and they won't walk much.  It's not really that complicated.

But they can get into that four-corner soft Dean Smith in a hurry.  They step out a lot.  I think everybody knows what their time of games are going to be.

How important has Matt Wieters been in the development of your pitching staff?

SHOWALTER:  Oh, he's been -- every once in a while you have to remind yourself how old he is.  Matt is very wise, and he has a lot of confidence.  I think he creates a lot of confidence because of the work he puts in, and the pitchers all know where his priorities are.

He knows that -- he does the math of four at¿bats, 140, 150 decisions a night behind the plate.  I mean, the play he made last night on the short hop from Robert, a lot of people I'm sure think that's easy.  That's a remarkable play.  But fortunately we get to see something like that every night.  He made a pick of a short hop early in the game that John Russell and I just looked at each other and went, really?  Go grab a mitt and try to do that with a catcher's mitt.  He does something every night where I just kind go, that's pretty special.  Best catcher I've ever had, and real lucky to have had him pass my way.

Q. When you guys added Machado, you make a pretty good case.  It improved you defensively at three different spots.  How big a part of this run has the improvement in your defense been, and did you guys really foresee the kind of impact that would have?

SHOWALTER:  Yeah, we dodged some baseball gods' rules of thumb with some of the defense early on, and we knew that that would catch up with us.  I think when you bring a young player up, the thing that allows you to run him out there, because they're going to have ups and downs offensively when they come up here, it's the biggest jump in professional sports from the Minor Leagues to the Major Leagues in the level of play.  You all have heard this.  Guys come out of the NFL and they are All¿Pro.  Guys come out of high school and they play in the NBA.  In baseball their ability to play defense is what allows you to keep running them out there while they figure it out offensively, and that was the one barometer we kept talking to our guys in the Minor Leagues about defensively, and they felt like he could do fine there, and they were right.

And then Mark settled in at first base, and Nate has helped us in left field.  I think our club improved dramatically, which allowed us to be consistent in making leads matter.

You guys have been playing this whole David versus Goliath thing all year long; nobody expects us to win and that whole thing.  It seems like you guys have almost thrived on it with that as your kind of theme.  I'm just wondering after a tough loss like last night, do you remind them of all of this as far as preparation for today and facing Andy Pettitte, going back to New York?

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