Buck Showalter is not going to be fazed* by the challenges of managing the Orioles


For a guy who has been in and around the majors for 20 years, most of us know very little about Buck Showalter.  Britt Ghiroli of MLB.com has a profile of the Orioles manager that focuses on his father. The father  who — in addition to storming the beaches of Normandy and desegregating a Florida high school that the white people in the community did not want desegregated — taught Buck about humility and character:

Buck Showalter is facing the biggest uphill battle in his career. It’s a reclamation project extended family members and close friends advised him against, a post that became official with Aug. 2’s press conference in Baltimore.

“You can’t win there,” they told Showalter of a downtrodden franchise in the middle of its 13th consecutive losing season. “It’s impossible.”

But nothing was impossible in the Showalter household, no matter how unpopular the decision was.

Talent will ultimately decide if the Orioles win or lose. But it’s also the case that, since Davy Johnson left town, they’ve been managed by guys who probably felt that they needed to prove themselves and probably felt pressure because of it.  Showalter has been around the block. And more importantly, he was brought up by a guy who placed more value on what a person actually did than what everyone else thought about it.  That can’t hurt as he embarks on his first full season with a team that everyone thinks is destined to be stuck in the cellar forever.

*I mistakenly wrote “phased” in the headline when it was first posted.  Yes, accuracy is important, but it’s probably also true that Showalter will not be carried out systematically as if by phases either, so I wasn’t 100% wrong.  Right?  Anyone?

Clayton Kershaw completes spring training with a 0.00 ERA

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Clayton Kershaw had nothing left to prove when he exited the mound during his last Cactus League start on Friday. He finished camp with a 0.00 ERA, made all the more impressive after he extended his scoreless streak to 21 1/3 innings following 6 2/3 frames of one-hit ball against the Royals.

In six spring training starts this year, the Dodgers southpaw racked up 12 hits, four walks and 23 strikeouts. His velocity appeared to fluctuate between the high-80s and low-90s from start to start, but manager Dave Roberts told reporters that he expects Kershaw to get back up to the 93 m.p.h. range next week. Kershaw is tabbed for his eighth consecutive Opening Day start on Thursday.

The 30-year-old lefty is poised to enter his 11th season with the club in 2018. He went 18-4 in 27 starts last year and turned in a 2.31 ERA, 1.5 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 over 175 innings. He suffered his fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, including a lower back strain that required a five-week stay on the disabled list.

The Dodgers will open their season against the Giants on Thursday, March 29 at 7:08 PM ET. Given the sudden rash of injuries that hit the Giants’ rotation earlier today, Kershaw’s Opening Day opponent has not yet been announced.