Pre-game Showalter - Part I

Manager Buck Showalter isn't concerned about the defensive lapses that we've seen from Brian Roberts since the second baseman's return from the disabled list.

"Of all the things we have to worry about, that's not one I put at the top of the list. He's solid," Showalter said.

"When you've had periods of time off, people think it's just a pure hitting thing. There's a tempo that everybody plays at. That's not something that I've given much thought to."

Showalter would love to add a bench player, but he might have to wait until rosters expand on Sept. 1. It'll be a challenge to hold out that long, and the starters going deeper in games makes it more tempting to lose a bullpen arm.

Koji Uehara is available tonight, but Showalter will try to lay off Alfredo Simon, who worked two innings last night.

"We've got Gonzo (Michael Gonzalez) down there now and he seems to be throwing better," Showalter said. "We're in good shape, but we know how quickly that can change. You'd like to go to more conventional players. This bench, you're doing two-for-one, that's a challenge that everybody's faced. It's tough last night, going two-for-one there. We had a chance to win the ballgame and you're sitting there with one guy on the bench. That's why (Jake) Fox is here, because he can go out and play other places.

"We'd love to get back to 12 (pitchers). I was kidding with Flanny (Mike Flanagan) the other day at the luncheon. It used to be where you could play with eight, nine or 10 pitchers. I have a feeling that's over in our game.

"If we continue to pitch like this, we'll be able to back off, but in two days, you might be right back there at it again. September is right around the corner and I'm pretty confident we'll have more than a three-man bench."

Showalter is aware that Troy Patton hasn't pitched since July 28 with Triple-A Norfolk. He wants to keep Patton sharp - and the left-hander recently threw a bullpen session - but he also likes the idea of not needing his long reliever, which would signal that the starter has "spit the bit."

"There's things he does when he's not pitching," Showalter said. "I understand the days he's had since he pitched in a competitive game. Same way with (Mark) Hendrickson. Obviously, it's a little different with Troy compared to Mark. The game dictates a lot of that. I like the idea that we're looking for ways to get people work, as opposed to the other one. We've had enough of the other one, right?

"I've read the reports and I have a feel for it. There's going to be some opportunities for him along the way."

Weird stat from Single-A Frederick: The Keys made five errors in Game 1 of last night's doubleheader that didn't lead to an unearned run, but one error in Game 2 opened the door to seven unearned runs.

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