7/13/2013 5:01 P.M. ET
Starters going deep the key to strong second half
By Jeff Seidel / MLB.com
BALTIMORE -- Orioles manager Buck Showalter said before Saturday's game with the Jays that the success of the team's starting rotation could play a big role in what the team does after the All-Star break.
Showalter said the much-discussed issue of having the starters make their way deeper into games is something he and his staff certainly feel is important -- for many reasons.
"[If] we go deeper into our games with our starting pitching [like last year], we'll have some fun," Showalter said. "If not, it will be a challenge."
Showalter said taking pressure off the bullpen is something longer starts would do, and it's what he'd like to see.
Too much work for the bullpen won't always give any team consistent results.
But in the end, the return of Wei-Yin Chen could stabilize things for the rotation. That's what Showalter's hoping for, a group of starters he can depend on for the second half.
"If we can stay healthy, I think we're going to have a chance to be competitive with our rotation," he said. "We've got some people in place that could help us if we have a problem. But we know that can change."
Diaz to throw to Davis during Home Run Derby
BALTIMORE -- Many know the group of Orioles heading to the All-Star Game in New York -- guys like Chris Davis, J.J. Hardy, Manny Machado and Adam Jones.
But not as many are aware of Einar Diaz, who'll be pitching to Davis in Monday night's Chevrolet Home Run Derby.
Diaz is an extra coach who also throws batting practice during the season. However, he'll be on a bigger stage in New York.
"I'm very excited to go there," he said Saturday. "[I'll] just throw strikes, you know? I think for [Davis], throw strikes right where he likes it."
Showalter's not worried about how Diaz will fare, and said Diaz shouldn't be concerned if Davis doesn't do well.
"He'll be fine," Showalter said. "It's not pressure on something you do well. I don't see Chris as one of those types of guys that will blame anybody."
• Showalter needs two more wins to become the fourth manager to win 250 games with four different teams. Joe Torrie, Gene Mauch and Dick Williams are the others. Showalter also managed with the Yankees, Rangers and D-backs.
• How hot has Davis been so far? The 88 RBIs he's registered before Saturday's game would have been tops on 20 Baltimore teams in franchise history. Plus, his 35 homers would have topped the team in 49 of its 59 seasons in Baltimore. He then added No. 36 and No. 89 with a solo shot in the second inning against the Jays.
• Jim Johnson needed just one pitch to make this 104th career save Friday. He's now third in team history, behind only Gregg Olson (160) and Tippy Martinez (105).
Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.