Catcher Matt Wieters will be out of the lineup for the first time Saturday night or Sunday afternoon in Toronto. Manager Buck Showalter will decide after checking the matchups.
Well, I checked them and I couldn’t find a definitive solution.
The Blue Jays are starting right-hander Henderson Alvarez on Saturday and right-hander Kyle Drabek on Sunday. Wieters and backup Ronny Paulino haven’t faced Alvarez, who’s 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA and 0.87 WHIP in two career starts against the Orioles, with one walk and nine strikeouts in 15 innings. Wieters is 1-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout against Drabeck. Paulino hasn’t faced him.
Wieters is a career .229 hitter in day games and a .275 hitter in night games. Paulino is a career .234 hitter in day games and a .284 hitter in night games.
I’d probably go with the small sample size and let Wieters face Drabek on Sunday.
Then again, Wieters would be catching Brian Matusz instead of Jason Hammel, who tossed seven hitless innings Sunday against the Twins with Wieters behind the plate.
Wieters will catch at least the first seven games of the season, including Friday’s series-opener in Toronto. But he’ll also get a break Thursday because there’s an open date on the schedule.
“We might catch him on the off-day in Bowie, by God,” Showalter said with a grin.
Showalter wanted Wieters to catch every starter the first time through the rotation, and he’ll complete that mission tonight with Wei-Yin Chen on the mound.
Saturday or Sunday will be “his first day because early in the season, he’s fresh,” Showalter said.
“We know how valuable he is, but we’d like to see him get a feel for all these guys. We tried to set that up in the spring as much as possible where he caught everybody, even work days and things like that. But I also want Ronny to see them, so there’s two sides of that.
“I know John Russell’s doing stuff with Ronny every other day to make sure he stays sharp catching-wise. Matt’s very valuable. Like we did last year, we’ll continue to monitor his catching.”