Myriad O’s thoughts: Wilson, Jones, Machado, Wright
Tyler Wilson pitched well for five innings Wednesday, then he ran into trouble in a three-run sixth that ultimately cost the Orioles in a 7-0 loss to the New York Yankees.
The kid is still learning. But the fact that he completed six innings is a step in the right direction – it’s his longest outing so far this year.
I think what I liked most about his performance was his response post-game, specifically his explanation of throwing a swinging bunt down the first base line – which allowed the third run to score.
The weather and field conditions, as they’ve been most of the season at Camden Yards, were far from ideal Wednesday. It was cold and misty and the ball was wet. But Wilson didn’t mention any of it when discussing his two-out error.
“That’s probably the thing that upsets me most about the outing,” Wilson said. “Obviously, we practice and do that all the time, and there’s no excuse for that. I pushed the ball into the ground, made a good grip, and then threw it into the ground. Stayed low, threw it, did everything the way we always practice it. I just didn’t execute. That’s 100 percent on me.”
I keep saying it, but I like Wilson’s attitude. No fear and no excuses. So long as that continues to be part of his big league education, I’m OK with watching him learn on the big stage.
Jones’ no-throw was a transfer problem
When Adam Jones did not make an attempt to throw out a tagging Jacoby Ellsbury in the sixth inning Wednesday, and MASN video didn’t show the replay, there were questions in the press box as to whether something was wrong with Jones, who has been dealing with rib discomfort.
Showalter quickly put that to rest after the game. He said he, too, asked outfield coach Wayne Kirby what happened. And the answer was simple: Jones juggled the ball on the transfer from glove to throwing hand.
By the time he recovered, it was too late to attempt the throw.
“He just didn’t get it out good,” Showalter said. “He made a great throw to the plate the play before. He just couldn’t get it out of his glove. He just couldn’t get the exchange down right.”
Jones also continues to struggle at the plate. He went 0-for-3 with a walk Wednesday and his season average is at .205. He’s had just two extra base hits in his last 12 games and has homered just once this season, April 16. On Wednesday, he couldn’t come through with runners in scoring position in his first two at-bats, including an inning-ending double play in the third.
“What did we have three or four double plays we hit into tonight? Three? He’s not the only one,” Showalter said about Jones. “But we know there’s some good things ahead. Good hitters with good track records and things that he’s done for us, someone will pay. He’s a little frustrated by it, but I know Adam. He’s gone through some periods like a lot of good hitters do and he’ll get it going. He’ll get it going.”
Machado to shortstop for a while
Let’s read between the lines here.
During Showalter’s pre-game conference Wednesday, he said plenty, without making any actual declarations about his plans while shortstop J.J. Hardy is out for six weeks or more.
It looks like Manny Machado is primarily playing shortstop in Hardy’s absence.
Said Showalter: “I just don’t want to go back and forth with Manny. I want him to concentrate on shortstop, play that until J.J. gets back, potentially, that’s one way to look at it. Or you play third and don’t think about shortstop anymore, and I think that’s the conclusion we came to talking to him.”
And since Machado has played two straight at shortstop, that question is seemingly answered. Not that this is a surprise, but Machado sure has played well at shortstop, too. He made a play deep in the hole in the eighth Wednesday that would make Hardy tip his cap.
More Hardy injury fallout
Here’s what else we know from Showalter on Wednesday about his future infield configuration sans Hardy:
Chris Davis isn’t playing third base unless a real emergency happens.
Said Showalter: “He’s an option but I’d rather not do it because of (how well he has played first).”
Infielder Paul Janish will be up from Triple-A — sooner rather than later if there is a need. He’s on paternity leave in Norfolk, but he could join the club as early Thursday if the Orioles desire.
That timing has something to do with when closer Zach Britton is ready to pitch again. The Orioles would like to go back to a four-man bench, but they are keeping an eight-man bullpen until they know Britton (ankle) can pitch without discomfort.
Pedro Alvarez will get some time at third base. But it doesn’t look like that’s going to be a regular thing.
Remembering Markakis in right
Joey Rickard has certainly been a tremendous asset for the Orioles in the first month of the season. But any time a new player has to get accustomed to the weird bounces in right field at Camden Yards, it makes me think about how flawlessly Nick Markakis played out there.
Rickard tried to corral a double in the corner Wednesday night and the ball skipped beyond him, allowing Brian McCann to get to third and Mark Teixeira to rumble around from first and score without a throw.
That stuff happens in the big leagues. No big deal.
But every time I see that happen, I think about how well Markakis played that wall and corner. Defensive metrics were rarely kind to Markakis, but it’s hard to quantify the difficulty of playing nearly every carom over there correctly.
Wright just getting work
Showalter said Mike Wright, who will start Saturday, pitched the ninth Wednesday. He hadn’t pitched since last Friday, and Showalter said he just wanted Wright to get some work. He threw just 13 pitches and will be fine to make his start.
“He hadn’t had a work day yet and you get a lot more benefit from doing it in the game and getting the ball in his hand in that situation,” Showalter said. “We thought it was a perfect opportunity to get him in there. Plus, he can get people out. Which he did.”
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