Showalter: We didn't get where we wanted to get
BALTIMORE – Buck Showalter never wants the baseball season to end. He talks endlessly about how difficult the season is, how his body rebels at its end. You might think he’d like to avoid the torture.
After Sunday’s 7-6 Orioles win over the Boston Red Sox before a sellout crowd of 44,230 at Oriole Park, Showalter became emotional as almost always does after the final game.
He had lots to be emotional about. The Orioles lost Manny Machado with a right knee injury on Monday, and in the fourth inning, Chris Davis, who earlier had been named the Most Valuable Oriole, sprained his left wrist in a collision with Boston’s Jacoby Ellsbury.
Another one of his big stars, Adam Jones, didn’t play with a right wrist injury.
With three of his hardiest players gone, perhaps Showalter was relieved for 2013 to be done. He had taken some time to thank his players for the season, and now he’s begun making plans for next February when the players report.
“I just talked to them in there and I want them to get as far away as they can,” Showalter said.
Even though the Orioles will finish seven games behind the final wild-card team, Showalter was still thinking postseason.
“We would have figured out a way for Manny to be ready for the playoffs maybe and Chris would have been a two or three-day injury,” Showalter said.
Davis tried to stay in the game.
“You don’t ever want to walk off the field injured and have your season end that way,” Davis said. “Obviously, it kind of rattled me a little bit, a play like that.”
Machado left for Gulf Breeze, Fla. on Sunday afternoon to see Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion on his right knee, and the Orioles are hoping he’ll avoid surgery and be ready for spring training.
Five players, Davis, Jones, Machado, J.J. Hardy and Nick Markakis played at least 156 games, and Matt Wieters, who didn’t play on Sunday, played 148—140 of them behind the plate.
“Tto think that next year we're going to be able to get this many games played from people would be a little unrealistic, but we'll approach it that way,” Showalter said. “Some of the greatest emotions kind of show themselves with a nod of the head or catching each other's eyes. I'm not real good this time of the year because you go through so much together,” Showalter said.
Chris Tillman ends his season with 16 wins, the most for an Orioles pitcher since 1999. However, Tillman won just two of his last 11 starts.
Tillman allowed five runs, four of them earned, on eight hits in five innings.
“I think it’s still tough saying any personal kind of things right now. I think we’re all disappointed with how the season ended up. Nothing to hang our heads about. We’re proud of where we’re at. We made some steps in the right direction. We have a lot of room to get better,” Tillman said.
T.J. McFarland (4-1) got the win as the Orioles (85-77) scored five runs in the fifth and two in the sixth.
Boston started Allen Webster instead of John Lackey because the game meant nothing to the Red Sox (97-65) in playoff positioning.
Webster pitched three hitless innings, but walked three. Felix Doubront allowed the five runs on two-run doubles by J.J. Hardy and Nate McLouth and a run-scoring single by Ryan Flaherty.
Rubby De La Rosa (0-2) got the loss after the Orioles scored their two runs in the sixth. Jonathan Schoop scored on a wild pitch by Matt Thornton (0-5). Flaherty’s double to right scored Brian Roberts to give the Orioles a 7-5 lead.
Ellsbury led off the game with his ninth home run of the year off Tillman. Mike Carp’s infield out scored the second run.
Quintin Berry’s two-run home run in the second gave Boston a 4-0 lead.
As Ellsbury and Davis collided as catcher Steve Clevenger threw, Jarrod Saltalamacchia scored the fifth Red Sox run.
McFarland loaded the bases in the sixth, but escaped without allowing a run.
Jason Hammel allowed one hit in two scoreless innings. In the ninth, Boston scored a run on three singles and a wild pitch against Jim Johnson. With runners on first and third, Will Middlebrooks hit into a 5-4-3 double play to end the game, and Johnson pitched the ninth for his 50th save. It was his second consecutive 50-save season.
“It was a frustrating season, a difficult – maybe disappointing season – for a lot of us and that’s because we have expectations of where we should be. And that’s unfortunately where we ended up,” Johnson said.
NOTE: The Orioles made 54 errors this season, the fewest in major league history.