The Orioles are 8-for-9 (88.9 percent) in stolen base attempts this season following Chris Dickerson’s swipe of second base last night, the second-best percentage in the American League behind the Toronto Blue Jays, who are 14-for-15 (93.3). On the flip side, the club’s catchers have thrown out 8-of-10 runners to lead the majors at 80 percent.
Matt Wieters has thrown out seven of the nine runners who have run on him, including Tampa Bay’s Desmond Jennings last night.
Credit goes to Wieters and the pitchers who do a better job of holding runners and decreasing their times to the plate.
“It’s both,” Showalter said. “Matt would be the first to give them some credit, and the pitchers would be the first...
“You teach pitchers a changeup when they come out of college or high school if they don’t have one to keep people from going 90 feet. The game’s played in 90-foot increments. As soon as we get the guys, if you’re not X-time (to the plate) or below, our guys know from Aberdeen on up, you’re not going to pitch here. But my point with the pitchers is, why wouldn’t you take advantage of a commodity like we have in Matt and Tea (Taylor Teagarden) by being 1.6, 1.5 to the plate?
“(Brian) Matusz has gone from it being a complete challenge for him - steal second, steal third - to he’s really hard to run on.”
When Showalter worked as a studio analyst at ESPN, he would question why none of the featured plays of the night involved catchers throwing out runners.
“You know how hard that is to catch a ball, frame it for a strike, try to not get up too quick and block the umpire, throw accurately to second base, the second baseman and shortstop catch the ball and tag?” Showalter said. “J.J. (Hardy) is a great tagger. (Ryan) Flaherty had a great tag the other day. That’s a tool we talk about with the infielders. What kind of tagger are they? There are some guys who aren’t very good taggers.”
Meanwhile, Showalter spoke again today with second baseman Brian Roberts, who’s rehabbing his right knee in Sarasota.
“He’s increasing some of his activity on the treadmill each day,” Showalter said. “Little faster, little longer. It sounds pretty encouraging. We’ll see where he is when we get off this road trip. Most of the swelling and soreness and discoloration is gone, so that’s a good sign. Hopefully, it’ll start coming quicker after that has happened. We’ll see. It’s kind of inexact right now.”
The Orioles won their 17th straight regular season extra-inning game last night, tying the 1949 Indians for longest streak in the majors since Pittsburgh won 21 in a row in 1959-60.
Last night’s game featured the first Orioles walk-off grand slam since Harold Baines did it on May 4, 1999 against the White Sox. Before last night, the 1999 game also featured the last leadoff home run by an opponent (Ray Durham) and a walk-off grand slam.
The Orioles went 6-for-7 with runners in scoring position last night after collecting six hits with RISP over their previous six games combined.
The Orioles have had runners on base for 12 of their 20 home runs, tops in the majors. Of their 20 home runs, 11 have given the Orioles a lead.
Double-A Bowie officially added Cuban outfielder Henry Urrutia to its roster.
Single-A Frederick placed infielder Nicky Delmonico on the seven-day disabled list with a concussion.
Weather update: The tarp is on the field and tonight’s game will not start on time.
The ceremonial first pitch took place in foul territory in front of the Orioles’ dugout. Way to improvise.