The pitching staff belongs to Matt Wieters. That’s what we were told while given the explanation for Chad Moeller losing his job as the Orioles’ backup catcher.
Moeller wasn’t needed to mentor the staff. Wieters is in control. He owns it. And he has the receipt in his wallet if you don’t believe him.
With these words still swimming in my head, I watched Wieters go to the mound twice last night in the fourth inning, as the Rays mounted a rally that produced one run, but could have busted the game wide open.
Carl Crawford and Ben Zobrist opened with singles. Evan Longoria flied out and Carlos Pena - who doubled earlier - struck out on a 2-2 slider clocked at 85 mph (a nice contrast to the 94 mph fastball that Jeremy Guthrie flashed on occasion).
B.J. Upton followed with a single to drive in Tampa Bay’s first run. When Guthrie fell behind, 1-0, to Pat Burrell, Wieters called time and paid him a quick visit.
Burrell drew a walk to load the bases, and Wieters again called time and approached the mound with the count 2-2 on Kelly Shoppach.
Perhaps one pitch away from losing the lead, Guthrie got a called third strike on Shoppach and jogged back to the dugout with the Orioles ahead, 2-1.
So what happened that caused Wieters to make two trips to the mound?
“They had a guy on second base, so one of the times I went out there just to change up signs,” Wieters said. “Another time it was just to slow his tempo down. He had great stuff all night, so it was just to make sure he could stay at the same tempo and keep pitching the way he was all night.”
And there’s your Inside Baseball segment for the morning.
Wieters was impressed with Guthrie, who took the loss after Longoria - my early pick for AL MVP -doubled home two runs in the fifth.
“He’s got more consistent action on the ball,” Wieters said. “Last year, sometimes it would move a lot and sometimes it wouldn’t move as much. This year, he’s able to have that consistent movement to where he can be able to locate a little bit better.”
I’d like the Orioles to be able to locate a few line drives a little bit better with runners in scoring position. Is that asking too much?
Before I close, I wanted to remind everyone of my limitations (shut up). I don’t know a thing about games being broadcast on-line or in HD. And I can’t tie a cherry stem in a knot with my tongue, though I’ve lied about it a few times.
I also don’t know why birds suddenly appear every time you are near. It just happens.
I explained why some fans couldn’t get the MASN2 broadcast in HD last night, if you check the last entry that I filed. It was a DirecTV issue, according to an e-mail that I received.
I also posted my RSS feed in a previous entry that many of you requested. Again, someone in MASN’s WebStudio scrolled the comments and came to my rescue, knowing that I had no clue.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to find a cherry stem and my bucket list.