Three rookies playing signficant roles for Orioles in the playoffs
By By Dan Connolly
The Baltimore Sun|
Oct 13, 2014 | 10:06 PM
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Even if the Orioles end up losing to the Kansas City Royals in the American League Championship Series this week, there's a sense that the experience itself will help the club going forward — especially for the younger players who didn't participate in the 2012 postseason.
"It's huge, especially because I hope we are back here next year and the near future, and hopefully I am starting one of these games," rookie right-hander Kevin Gausman said. "Any time you have success in the postseason, it definitely helps, not only yourself but your confidence level and also says a lot about your career."
Gausman, catcher Caleb Joseph and second baseman Jonathan Schoop are all rookies who have played fairly significant roles for the club this season. And they are now getting playing time in the postseason. That's not lost on manager Buck Showalter or executive vice president Dan Duquette.
"I think any time you participate in any form in that arena, so to speak, you are going to be able to reach back for that as you go forward," Showalter said. "I think a lot of young players, and players in general, they should take great confidence in the confidence you have in them."
Gausman has pitched in two playoff games out of the bullpen and has allowed just one earned run in 5 1/3 innings (1.69 ERA). Schoop has started all five games at second base and hit .235 with three runs scored and two RBIs. Joseph has started two games, has two hits in six at-bats and has thrown out a runner.
"They are getting the opportunity, and these guys are ready to play when they get the opportunity," Duquette said. "So they know that's what the Orioles are about and, to their credit, they were ready when they got the chance."
Gausman said he and Schoop, in particular, have talked about the experience, and the opportunity they have been afforded at such a young age. Gausman is 23 and Schoop turns 23 on Thursday.
"This is where we wanted to be. We wanted to be with the big league team the entire year. He was and I was, for the most part," Gausman said. "We've talked about us being the big factors for us this year. If we could step up, how good this team could be with all the guys that already step up on a day-to-day basis."
Showalter again declines to address Dyson's comments
Kansas City Royals outfielder Jarrod Dyson on Saturday and Sunday offered some comments that the media seized.
Dyson said after Kansas City's win Saturday that he thought the ALCS wouldn't be going back to Camden Yards. And on Sunday, he said if the Royals won Game 3 to take a 3-0 lead, there would be some Orioles players who would be ready to give up.
Showalter wouldn't bite when he was asked again Monday for his response to Dyson.
"I'm very careful about saying something that makes my players' job harder than it is," Showalter said. "So that's what I try to keep in mind. You think about the words, how they reflect on your team, your organization, the city. It's tough sometimes, but I think that's the bottom line. The game is hard enough as it is."
Orioles left-hander Andrew Miller was asked whether comments like Dyson's really did have an impact on the opposition. Maybe, he said, but not with the Orioles.
"I'm sure certain guys take something like that and run with it. But ultimately, I don't think we need anything like that," Miller said. "We're a pretty confident bunch, and we're not happy with the way the first two games have gone.
"But at the same time, it's not like we've been blown out or beaten handily. We know what we can do and what we're capable of."
Hunter on playing in postseason again
This is right-hander Tommy Hunter's third postseason — he started a game for the Texas Rangers in the 2010 World Series — and he said it never gets old.
"You still feel like that little kid on Little League Opening Day when you got your two tickets to go to the grandstand and get a hot dog and a Popsicle. I want my Popsicle and my hot dog at the same time, damn it," Hunter joked. "No, man, it's still so exciting. There's no place you'd rather be than the postseason."
Even with the Orioles down 0-2 in the series and now facing three games at Kauffman Stadium?
"We got a little bit of a hill to climb to get back to where we want to go, but it's not done, it's not over, this isn't the end of the world," Hunter said. "We've been through a lot of ups and downs, and this just adds to the saga."
No deals for Duquette on this day off
Duquette jokingly was asked whether he would sign a player since he had no official business Monday because of the rainout. On Thursday, the club's last day off before the ALCS began, Duquette signed shortstop J.J. Hardy to a contract extension.
Duquette, always the straight man, had pretty good response to the question.
"I'm going to sign the room service [bill] at the hotel," he said, drawing laughter.
Right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez was given the opportunity to stay with the team despite not being on the ALCS roster, but he chose not to do that. He went home to Miami. Jimenez was on the ALDS roster, but he did not pitch in the series. … Four of the last six times that a team lost its first two ALCS games at home, it ended up being swept. All six eventually lost the series. … Denny Walling, 60, has retired as Triple-A Norfolk's hitting coach. Showalter said the organization is considering several options for that position.