TORONTO — The Orioles spend a lot of time doing pitchers' fielding practice during spring training, and manager Buck Showalter takes every drill seriously, making sure his pitchers are ready to field their position when the season starts.
That's why Showalter sounded miffed after the Orioles' 4-3 10-inning loss to the Toronto Blue Jays following another error by one of his pitchers.
Right-hander Kevin Gausman's errant pickoff throw to first on the second batter of the game led to an unearned run, which was essentially the difference in the game.
It was the 10th error by an Orioles pitcher this season, accounting for 27.8 percent of the team's 36 errors this season. By comparison, Orioles pitchers made 10 errors all of last season.
Five of the 10 errors have come on pickoff throws to first base. Four others have come on errant throws on batted balls in front of the mound.
"Guys spiking balls to first base," Showalter said. "You know how much we work on that during spring training. I think if you're good at something, sooner or later it will show up.
"I think all of them have been something [different] where [they can't say], 'Let's take advantage of this. Let's get further off the bag so the guy will throw over. Hey, let's have a swinging bunt.' It just happens over the course of the game. But pitchers' defense is very important. It should be a strength of ours and it should be before it's all over."
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Three of the Orioles' five starters have committed multiple errors. Tyler Wilson has three, while Ubaldo Jimenez and Gausman each have two errors already.
"We work on it all the time constantly," Showalter said. "It's like I told Tyler yesterday in the outfield, 'You ever had something you're really good at and just in a short stretch you're bad at it and you wonder if everyone thinks you're that bad?' He said, 'Yeah, right now.' Tyler's a really good fielder. I think maybe its a little anxiety more than anything. Last night, he said after that ball he didn't get, he said, 'I make that play in my sleep.'"
Showalter was frustrated after Gausman's error Friday.
"Gaus pitched well again tonight, I thought," Showalter said. "Got off to a little tough start. You know I think almost a third of our errors have been by our pitchers this year. That is something we have to get better [at]. I think we've had like five errors on throw overs."
Gausman allowed a leadoff single to Ezequiel Carrera to open the game, then skipped a throw to first past Chris Davis as Carrera dove back to the bag. Carrera ended up at third, and scored on Josh Donaldson's RBI single.
"That's one of those things," Gausman said. "You work on it as much as you can. Just a bad throw. Just spiked it right into the ground and with a guy diving into the base, it's tough for C.D. to even try to make a play on that. I have to be better than that. To start the game off like that, that's kind of the way my whole start went, just kind of my back against the wall and try to pitch out of jams."