Buck Showalter doesn’t bite often on the “big win, good win” questions.
It’s a 162 game season, after all, and Showalter is a big believer in one game doesn’t mean much more than the other. But he’s also talked about how difficult it can be to come back from a long road trip and not be flat in the first game at home.
So how important was it to keep the momentum going on Tuesday night at home?
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“It wasn’t more important [than the road trip], that was an important road trip for us. Any time you go to the West Coast and play that many games in a row,” Showalter said. “But the experience that baseball has allowed me to have when you come off something like that [is] there’s a tendency kind of [to say] ‘OK, we’re at home,’ and have a little period where you have to get adjusted. It wasn’t like we scored a whole bunch of runs. But pitching was the difference tonight and we caught the baseball good.”
Bottom line: Good teams, contending teams win games like Tuesday night. It’s just one game. But it was a good one to win.
Wei-Yin Chen didn’t get the victory Tuesday. But he pitched well enough for the win. And that’s good to see. One of the toughest things to do in baseball is bounce back from a bad outing.
We haven’t seen Chen deal with too many clunkers in his short time with the Orioles. He was pretty consistent last season and so far this year. So to put up zeroes for most of Tuesday after lasting just four innings in Seattle last Wednesday is another necessary step in his maturation as a big leaguer.
** Where are all the Tommy Hunter haters now?
The right-hander threw 1 1/3 perfect innings on Tuesday to extend his scoreless innings streak to 12 1/3. Since giving up two homers versus Boston on April 10 – his third game of the year – Hunter has been tremendous.
He has given up eight hits, three walks, no runs and struck out eight in his last eight games. I know watching him give up the longball is painful, but when Hunter is on he can be a huge asset for the Orioles as a bridge to the back-end of the bullpen. Don’t be surprised if he ends up further back in the bullpen, and pitching more key innings, as the season progresses.
** Miguel Tejada was back in Camden Yards for the first time since 2010 and the first time as a visitor since 2008. He had two hits and made a great, tumbling play at third base.
When he came to the plate for the first time, the 38-year-old received some applause and some boos. And I understand the boos – he played for some miserable Orioles teams and made some bad choices while with the club (and aged rapidly).
But Miggy will always be one of the nicest guys I’ve ever covered. Have to admit I’m pulling for him to have a solid comeback season and for him one day get the opportunity to coach baseball on the big league level. I can’t stress how much those around him loved playing baseball with Tejada. He’d be a great coach, no question in my mind.