Asked before Monday's Opening Day marathon between the Orioles and Minnesota Twins to describe the ascent of right-hander Tyler Wilson to the season-opening roster, manager Buck Showalter proved to be somewhat prophetic about how the swingman’s day would go.
Showalter said Wilson is the type of player who, if he gets into a jam, doesn’t wilt but steps to the back of the mound and comes up with a way to get out of it.
“He’s a very easy guy to trust,” Showalter said.
Wilson did just that in coming out of the bullpen after a 70-minute rain delay chased Chris Tillman from the game. He allowed a leadoff double in the third inning to Twins shortstop Eduardo Escobar, then retired three straight to get out unscathed.
He then posted a perfect fourth inning, and finished the day with three scoreless frames. Wilson allowed two hits and struck out one.
Before the game, Showalter was full of praise for Wilson, who along with right-hander Vance is in the mix to start on April 10 as the team’s fifth starter.
“He’s athletic,” Showalter said. “He’s probably one of our best conditioned guys, he fields his position, he holds runners, he understands scouting reports, understands who he is and who he isn’t and he never quits fighting. He’s not going to back off the competition.
“He’s not going to get that ‘wow’ factor when he sees a certain guy in the batter’s box. He looks at it as an opportunity to do the same thing he’s been doing since the 10th grade at every stop. He’s been nothing but a winning pitcher everywhere he’s gone. That’s how you force somebody’s hand.”