Orioles manager Buck Showalter often talks about these being "the good ol' days," and while he has undoubtedly been a key part of the club's resurgence, he said his time in Baltimore has flown by.
In fact, Wednesday marked five years to the day Showalter was hired as Orioles manager. Since then, he has guided the Orioles to a 427-377 record, one division title and two playoff berths.
Asked about the anniversary, Showalter said it doesn't feel like it has been five years.
"Not at all," Showalter said. "It did in Yankee Stadium on that road trip [when the Orioles were swept]. Not at all."
Like any of his previous managerial milestones, Showalter shrugged it off, uncomfortable with any spotlight placed on him.
"It's surprising it's been that [long]," Showalter said. "… That actually caught me by surprise. I understand how fleeting things are. I take it in. It's an honor every day. I've gotta fool them one more day."
Showalter, who at the time was an analyst for ESPN, was hired by former Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail on July 29, 2010 to be the club's 19th manager, replacing interim manager Juan Samuel. Samuel replaced former Orioles skipper Dave Trembley, who was fired 54 games into the season.
In his 17-season managerial career — which included stints with the New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks and Texas Rangers — Showalter has managed the Orioles longer than any other team. His 427 wins with the Orioles entering Wednesday were third-most in club history behind Earl Weaver (1,480) and Paul Richards (517).
Weaver, Richards and Showalter are the only managers in club history to skipper the Orioles for at least five seasons since the team moved to Baltimore in 1954. Hank Bauer, who managed the Orioles' first World Series winner in 1966, skippered the team for 4½ years before he was replaced by Weaver at the 1968 All-Star break.
Showalter entered Wednesday's game against the Atlanta Braves with 1,309 career wins, trailing Hall of Famer Ned Hanlon by four victories for 31st place on the all-time managerial wins list.
Supply and demand at the deadline
Showalter has been at this juncture in the season enough times to spot a trend or two in baseball's midseason trading patterns, and he sees a shift in the demand equation toward hitters over pitching as another nonwaiver trade deadline approaches on Friday at 4 p.m.
"I'll tell you what's been interesting, that kind of tells you what's going on in the game a little bit is that the bats are in demand," Showalter said. "The bats are what's really in demand, I'm hearing."
The Orioles claim to be in the market for one of them, but Showalter didn't raise expectations that they would be able to make a deal by Friday's deadline. He was just opining on the situation they face trying to acquire a productive offensive player.
"Take a look at the last five years, what's going on in the game," he said. "Look at the RBI leaders compared to what they've been in the past. Chris [Davis] is what, tied for fourth? We might have a year where somebody might not drive in 100 runs."
In other words, the pendulum is swinging the other way after years of baseball-wide emphasis on drafting and signing big-velocity pitchers, and that has begun to depress offensive numbers across the board.
"I watch the draft," Showalter said. "The bats fly off the board now. It used to be the big arms. It's changed."
Pearce a week away from baseball activities
Infielder-outfielder Steve Pearce, who is on the on the disabled list with a left oblique strain, definitely won't be ready to return when he is eligible to be activated Monday. Showalter estimated Pearce is still about a week away from resuming baseball activities.
"I think it's going to be an inch-along kind of thing," Showalter said. "He's not going to make the DL period. We knew that."
Since he was diagnosed with a Grade 1 oblique strain Friday, Pearce has remained in Baltimore, the team opting to keep him here rather than send him to Sarasota, Fla., to start rehabilitating there.
Pearce continues to get treatment, but the club will be careful in allowing him to do any hitting or throwing as a precaution to avoid aggravating the injury.
Pearce, who is hitting .227/.290/.392 with seven homers and 24 RBIs in 58 games, asked Showalter about going on the DL last week when the club faced a difficult roster decision to make room for the return of right-hander Kevin Gausman.
Around the horn
Right-hander Miguel Gonzalez (9-6, 3.99 ERA) will start Thursday's series opener against the Detroit Tigers at Camden Yards. Gonzalez is 1-2 with a 7.36 ERA in five career outings (four starts) against the Tigers and was the winning pitcher in his last start against Detroit on July 19, allowing two runs on six hits over five innings at Comerica Park. Former Oriole Alfredo Simon (9-6, 4.46 ERA) will start for the Tigers, making his first career start against the Orioles. … As for the rest of the Detroit series, the probable starters are left-handers Wei-Yin Chen and Buck Farmer on Friday, right-handers Kevin Gausman and Anibal Sanchez on Saturday, and right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez and left-hander David Price on Sunday. … The Orioles entered Wednesday's series finale against the Braves with a 7-7 record this season in interleague play. The Orioles have two more interleague series remaining — from Aug. 18-19 against the New York Mets and Sept. 21-23 against the Washington Nationals. … The Orioles entered Wednesday's game having committed the fewest errors in the majors with 39. … Matt Wieters' walk-off home run Monday night gave him one in each of the past three seasons. The only other Orioles to have a walk-off in at least three consecutive seasons were Frank Robinson (1968-71), Brooks Robinson (1969-72) and Larry Sheets (1986-88). … All fans attending Thursday's game will receive J.J. Hardy's player-designed T-shirt.