BRADENTON, Fla. - It never fails. A team is almost no-hit one night, and it erupts for 13 runs the next day.
Josh Rupe extended his scoreless innings streak to 11 2/3 by completing the last three today. I guess we can’t eliminate him from the bullpen discussion.
Manager Buck Showalter playfully reminded reporters that he batted Matt Wieters fourth today.
Showalter didn’t seem real sympathetic about the higher bullpen mound and how it distracted Chris Tillman.
“I don’t really want to hear it,” Showalter said. “That’s part of it. It happens in a lot of ballparks in the big leagues. You’ve got to make the adjustment.
“His command needs to be a little better. He threw some good cutters, which was the difference for him today, something he hasn’t had to get him out of some of those situations. I thought he was OK, but he’s capable of being better.”
Showalter was surprised when informed that Jake Fox has hit seven home runs. He assumed the total was higher than the bullpen mound. Must be counting the intrasquad game.
Fox is batting .356 with 12 RBIs, but he’s not a lock to make this club. Though Fox downplays the competition with Craig Tatum, Showalter keeps indicating that the veteran is being judged on his work behind the plate.
“I want him to show me what he can do catching,” Showalter said. “We all know that he’s capable of doing some good things with the bat. He had a better game behind the plate. That’s really what I was looking at today.”
Asked if it’s possible that a guy with seven home runs won’t make the team, Showalter replied, “Yes.”
Josh Bell can be excused for assuming that he was out at second base while Felix Pie drew a walk.
“He heard the umpire say ‘out.’ If that had been during the season, there would have been an argument and they would have let him stay at second base,” Showalter said. “The umpire (Wally Bell) is very deliberate with ball four, and at some point Timmy (Welke) has to turn around and call the play. He can’t sit there and keep watching whether Wally’s going to call a strike. That’s a tough one.
“That would be, for lack of a better expression, a do-over during the season. Josh would not have been out.”
Derrek Lee made it through coach’s batting practice in the indoor cage in Sarasota without any wrist issues.
“He’ll proceed on the field tomorrow,” Showalter said.
Brian Roberts hit soft toss and off a tee, and did a lot of defensive work.