OAKLAND -- With several rookies on the Orioles roster -- and the team trying to make its first postseason in 15 years -- it's a constant balancing act of not getting too high or too low, a mantra manager Buck Showalter has preached with his young players.
"If you feel something, I trust you the field," said Showalter when asked about Xavier Avery's caught stealing to end Friday's game. "That's one of the things you want to install in your players. You are on the field. This is about you. You have to take ownership and make some of those decisions and just a feel for a game and you let it fly. Where I'm going to get upset at them is they see something and they get passive and tentative. That's the real bugaboo.
"Just like Manny [Machado], Manny came off the field last night after a really tough play that ended up being a base hit and I walked right up to him and reminded him of what we are about. Turn the page. He went up there had a great at-bat and we moved on. You can't dwell on those things. Otherwise you get real passive and this game will eat you up if you get passive."
It'll also humble you in a hurry, and Showalter has been careful with his young players to not run them up the flagpole or heap on too much public praise. Machado's pump-fake play at third base, which created a stir in Wednesday's game, was a perfect example.
"He tries to deflect all that positive attention away from him to prevent him from getting too high," shortstop J.J. Hardy said. "I think that's what [Showalter was] doing. Everyone realizes how great a play it was, but he's like, 'It wouldn't have worked if J.J. wasn't there.' I think 30 out of 30 big league shortstops would have been there. It's really not me. I think he was just deflecting that [attention.]"