Showal­ter fin­ishes 3rd in AL Man­ager of the Year vot­ing

Baltimore Sun - - SPORTS - By Jon Me­oli jme­oli@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/JonMe­oli

Ori­oles man­ager Buck Showal­ter was de­nied his fourth Man­ager of the Year award Tues­day, fin­ish­ing third in bal­lot­ing for the Amer­i­can League honor to Terry Fran­cona of the Cleve­land In­di­ans and Jeff Banis­ter of the Texas Rangers.

Fran­cona fin­ished with 128 points, Banis­ter 64 and Showal­ter 44. John Far­rell of the Bos­ton Red Sox fin­ished fourth. The Ori­oles man­ager drew two of 30 first-place votes.

Showal­ter, who of­ten jokes that the award is re­ally for the man­ager whose team most ex­ceeded pre­sea­son ex­pec­ta­tions, not ex­actly for man­ag­ing acu­men, has three awards to his name: 1994 with the New York Yan­kees, 2004 with the Rangers and 2014 with the Ori­oles.

The Ori­oles were pre­dicted to fin­ish at or below.500by­manythisyear, con­tin­u­ing a trend of doubt from an­a­lysts and me­dia mem­bers who feel their pitch­ing staff is lack­ing and their lineup is too de­pen­dent on home runs. But they ended up se­cur­ing the AL’s sec­ond wild card on the last day of the sea­son with an 89-73 record.

Showal­ter was bid­ding to join Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa as the only four-time win­ners since the award be­gan in 1983.

Con­sid­er­ing that Showal­ter spent much of the first half of the sea­son with an un­der­manned and strug­gling ro­ta­tion, then had to deal with a flag­ging of­fense in the sec­ond half, his in­clu­sion in the fi­nal three for this award was jus­ti­fied.

The Ori­oles lost short­stop J.J. Hardy (frac­tured foot), top setup man Darren O’Day (ham­string, shoul­der) and starter Yo­vani Gal­lardo (shoul­der) for large chunks of time. Showal­ter’s bench flex­i­bil­ity was also di­min­ished when rookie out­fielder Joey Rickard tore his thumb, end­ing his sea­son.

Showal­ter also earned praise for the way he got out­fielder Hyun Soo Kim in­volved af­ter an ini­tial strug­gle, and was largely lauded for his bullpen de­ci­sions. Vot­ing on this award from the Base­ball Writ­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion of Amer­ica was due be­fore the post­sea­son be­gan, mean­ing Showal­ter’s de­ci­sion not to use closer Zach Brit­ton in ex­tra in­nings of the AL wild-card game in Toronto was not a con­sid­er­a­tion.

That the Ori­oles even made it to that wild-card game, and were in the lead in a tough AL East for most of the sea­son, was a credit to the shuf­fling Showal­ter did. The team’s con­stant ros­ter ma­neu­ver­ing kept the pitch­ing staff fresh, and it wasn’t un­til mid-Au­gust that the Ori­oles ceded a strong hold on first place in the di­vi­sion.

Showal­ter is 547-482 in his seven sea­sons with the Ori­oles.

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