Baltimore Sun sports columnist Peter Schmuck talks about the Orioles keys for victory in game 1 of the ALDS against the Detroit Tigers. (Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun video)
The Orioles led the major leagues with 211 home runs this season, so they aren't about to shy away from their reputation as one of the game's most explosive offensive teams, but it wouldn't be a huge surprise if manager Buck Showalter puts some additional emphasis on speed during this American League Division Series.
He remained coy about the makeup of his playoff roster during his news conference on Wednesday, but he has had more speed available to him since the Orioles traded for outfielder Alejandro De Aza and added Quentin Berry when the roster limit expanded in September.
Though Showalter wasn't ready to announce whether Berry would be included on the ALDS roster when he spoke Wednesday, he acknowledged that it may be necessary to keep all options open against a team with the type of starting pitching the Tigers possess.
"You try to put your players in the position that best suits their abilities if the opposition cooperates,'' he said, "but a lot of times they don't. That's what's beautiful about this time of year…what may appear should happen on paper does not happen. I'm as curious as you are. I've got a great seat and I'm going to try and stay out of the way and put our guys in good position and not be a prisoner to what you or they have done all year."
That doesn't mean that Showalter will throw away the book and turn his baserunners completely loose the way the Kansas City Royals did in Tuesday night's American League wild-card game, but he conceded that there are times when you have to be "spontaneous."