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Is Orioles Manager Buck Showalter Too Loyal To His Players?

August 23, 2017
BALTIMORE -- Buck Showalter seemed put off by the question. In his pre-game media session Aug. 22, the Orioles' manager was asked if he, perhaps, is too loyal to some of his players.
 
It's relevant because longtime shortstop J.J. Hardy is in the midst of a rehab assignment at Triple-A Norfolk, and shortstop Tim Beckham has been playing well offensively since he was acquired July 31.
 
"Loyalty to another human being is a bad trait, but not to the point where it jeopardizes the Orioles' success?" Showalter asked. "If that's the worst thing they can say about me, I'm OK with that."
 
Beckham, who had 12 multi-hit games in his first 17 with the Orioles, has cooled off since, going 1-for-4 during Baltimore's 6-4 loss to the Oakland Athletics before 18,493 at Oriole Park Aug. 22.
 
Meanwhile, Hardy was 1-for-2 in his second rehab game for the Tides.
 
Many Orioles veterans are understandably indebted to Hardy, who was the steady-handed shortstop on three postseason teams. Hardy will likely become a free agent after the season, so the Orioles were looking for a shortstop for 2018, and since they have no logical in-house candidates, they picked up Beckham, who had that hot start but is just 2-for-17 since.
 
"I think you have to have a long memory here, but you also have to have a short memory sometimes," Showalter said. "I'll probably stand accused of that because I know a lot of things that other people don't know about players."

***
 
Against Oakland Aug. 22, Ubaldo Jimenez equaled a career-high by allowing three home runs. The right-hander gave up five runs on nine hits in five innings. Jimenez allowed two of those home runs in the first.
 
"You'd like to say take the first inning away, but you can't take those away," Showalter said. "Rough start from him."
 
Jimenez, whose has a 6.57 ERA, didn't provide an effective start for the Orioles.
 
"It's never a good feeling not to be able to do that for the team. Today was a tough one," Jimenez said.
 
After they spotted Oakland the 5-0 lead, third baseman Manny Machado hit a long two-run home run to center in the sixth inning for his 27th long ball on the season. Second baseman Jonathan Schoop hit a two-run single in the eighth. Schoop has 93 RBIs.
 
The Orioles, who dropped to 61-65, continued a frustrating trend. For the fifth straight series, they've won the first game but failed to win the second. They haven't won a series since July 31-Aug. 2.
 
"We've talked about it and they're certainly aware of it." Showalter said. "It's a very obvious thing to say. They know it. But we're going to have to be consistent in our starting pitching to have that type of momentum and to have those things happen."
 
In their last seven starts, the Orioles have had only one start as long as six innings.
 
"We have some good ones and then we have some that really put us in the hole early on," Showalter said. "We did a great job of getting back in there. We had some good people up, and we couldn't get that last one. We created a real hole for ourselves. Sometimes we climb out of it, sometime we don't."
 
NOTES: RHP Miguel Castro is scheduled to be activated from the bereavement list Aug. 23. A player's stay on the bereavement list can last between three and seven days. … RHP Alec Asher, who pitched twice while Castro was away, was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk. … RHP Dylan Bundy (12-8, 4.17) will face RHP Daniel Gossett (3-6, 5.17) at 3:05 p.m. Aug. 23. … Showalter indicated RHP Chris Tillman could get another start, perhaps Aug. 27.  … RHP Hunter Harvey threw three hitless innings for Low-A Delmarva in his first appearance for the Shorebirds since 2014.

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox