Showalter: We didn't get where we wanted to get
It’s easy to remember Chris Davis, Manny Machado, Chris Tillman, Adam Jones and Matt Wieters. Let’s look behind the scenes at some of the wacky, wild and perhaps forgotten moments of the 2013 Orioles season.
MOST UNLIKELY WIN PART 1:
On May 31, Chris Dickerson hit a three-run game-ending home run to turn a one-run deficit into a 7-5 win over the Detroit Tigers.
Dickerson celebrated by riding his bike home through the streets of Baltimore’s Federal Hill, snickering at the fans reveling in the Orioles’ unlikely win who ignored him.
MOST UNLIKELY WIN PART 2:
Adam Jones hit a two-run home run off Mariano Rivera on July 6 to give the Orioles a 2-1 win over the Yankees.
The Orioles lost three one-run games at Arizona, two of them in extra innings. They entered the mid-August series 13 games over 500. After that series, they were never more than 11 over.
WORST SERIES, PART 2:
The four-game debacle in Tampa Bay that included the 18-inning game that ended after 2 a.m., a total lack of offense and Mann Machado’s scary injury.
The three-game sweep in Texas right after the All-Star Game. After winning the first game in Kansas City, the Orioles were on a season-high five-game winning streak and 14 games over .500.
MOST FORGETTABLE ORIOLE:
Michael Morse, a one-time folk hero for the Nationals, who was 3-for-29 in his 12 games. He was hitless in 14 at-bats at home and ends his time with an 0-for-24 slump. He does get to see the Orioles’ favorite hand specialist in Sarasota, Fla. for a wrist injury.
Buck Showalter estimated on Sunday that he had more than 400 media sessions in 2013. His most memorable came after Jim Johnson’s ninth—and final blown save in Arizona on Aug. 14.
“The world's full of those guys who come in after the war's over and shoot the wounded. I'm not one of those guys. I'll leave that to the guys who are outside the arena."
KEEP HIM AWAY:
The Orioles signed Travis Ishikawa to a minor league contract, and after he did well at Norfolk, brought him up because he had invoked his opt-out clause.
The Yankees were looking for first base help, and the Orioles wanted to keep him away from New York.
After six games and a .118 average, he ended up with the Yankees anyway, who let him go after he struck out twice in his only game.
Jason Hammel ripped into himself after a July 13 loss to Toronto.
"Unacceptable," Hammel said. "Far too many baserunners. Getting behind hitters. Fastball-hitting club that I'm feeding fastballs. It's easy to hit when you know what is coming. I'm not throwing sliders for strikes, not throwing curveballs where I want them. Changeup is non-existent. I'm beating myself right now. Very frustrating.”
On June 15 with the Orioles down by one run in the ninth against Boston, Alexi Casilla thought Ryan Flaherty’s fly ball to right was going to fall in. It was easily caught, and Casilla was standing on third when he was doubled up at first, ending the game.
A few days later, Casilla, who speaks excellent English, decided to speak Spanish in a post-game interview. The interview and translation were unusable, and Casilla was ignored until the last few days of the season when he collided with Nick Markakis, suffering season-ending injuries to his head and thumb.
ENJOY IT WHILE IT LASTS:
After six years of toiling at every level of the Orioles’ minor league system, Zach Clark, who was an undrafted free agent, made it to the major leagues. He allowed three runs in 1 2/3 innings on May 1 and was designated for assignment a few days later.
The Orioles decided to teach Clark a knuckleball, and in several minor league stops this season had a 3-15 record with a 7.84 ERA.
Showalter consoled family members of service members who were killed in action on Apr. 21. Often touchy after a loss, Showalter became quite emotional when describing his feelings before the game.
“It's an honor to be asked to go out there. It's an honor to be in their presence, but I can't imagine how families feel when a sacrifice like that has been made,” Showalter said. “Reminds you in the whole scheme of things what we're doing out there for three hours or whatever is not really that important. One of them pointing out to me where their son sat to watch our games."
When the Orioles acquired Francisco Rodriguez in July, some fans actually thought that K-Rod with his 304 career saves could displace the struggling Jim Johnson.
Showalter never gave K-Rod a chance to earn his 305th. He won’t be back in 2014.