I don't want to make this all about Buck Showalter again because he's certainly gotten the majority of the credit for the Orioles' improved play over the last six weeks, even though there were other factors out of his control - primarily the health of some of the key Orioles - that have contributed.
However, it sure seems that most decisions that he has made have worked out to the Orioles' benefit. Last night, he gives infielder Jake Fox his first start since Aug. 29 and Fox responds by going 2-for-4 with a double and a two-run homer. Now, you may say that starting Fox was a no-brainer because he entered the night 4-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs off Detroit starter Armando Galarraga. However, that's not too much of a sample size and Showalter could have very easily given Brandon Snyder his first career start or just stayed with Ty Wigginton and Josh Bell at the corners. Instead, he opted to give a player who had just one at-bat all month, a start and Fox delivered.
Then, there was Showalter's decision to bring on David Hernandez with the game tied in the bottom of the seventh inning. I was a little skeptical because Hernandez essentially had pitched two total innings in the past month and both of those were against Double-A hitters. It seemed to be a tight spot for him to come in and work off the rust. However after allowing a leadoff triple to exciting rookie Austin Jackson, Hernandez got out of the jam with the help of an intentional walk to Miguel Cabrera and two strikeouts.
You'd also have to cite his decision to pinch-run Corey Patterson for Fox after Fox's leadoff double in the ninth inning. That was kind of a no-brainer, but it did mean that Snyder was going to have to make his debut and play first base in the bottom of the inning in potentially a two-run game. The speedy Patterson beat out Cabrera's throw to first on Cesar Izturis' groundball and then scored an insurance run on Brian Roberts' sacrifice fly. Cabrera didn't make a good throw, but I'm not sure Fox beats it.
All in all, a pretty good night for Showalter and the Orioles.