I’m still trying to digest yesterday’s 10-inning win and my breakfast. Insert your own joke here.
One of the key moments of the game occurred in the bottom of the 10th inning, and I’m not referring to Matt Wieters’ two-out, two-run single that ended it. Nick Markakis stole second base as Nate McLouth took a called third strike, putting the potential winning run in scoring position.
Did the White Sox forget about him? Did they think his run didn’t matter? Have they completely checked out? Or did Markakis just get that good of a jump?
The White Sox cared enough to take the lead in the top of the 10th on Conor Gillaspie’s home run off Tommy Hunter, but I sometimes wonder if there’s a pulse. Manager Robin Ventura could have flipped out over three calls Friday night that went against his club, but he flatlined. And did he really bring in left-hander David Purcey in the eighth yesterday with Danny Valencia leading off the inning?
I’m not close enough to the team to make a final determination, but let’s just say that the body language is bad.
Anyway, the Markakis stolen base was huge. And if you want further proof that manager Buck Showalter is a stickler for details, he noted afterward how Chicago reliever Addison Reed’s times to home plate had slowed.
“Addison is usually 1.2, 1.3,” Showalter said, “and he had gotten up to 1.6, 1.7 there.”
Henry Urrutia had a pinch-hit single with one out in the 10th. Naturally, it went to left field.
The Orioles debated whether to send out Urrutia instead of having him sit on their bench, but they decided to keep him. There were serious discussions about it on Friday. He could have returned to Sarasota. He could have joined short-season Single-A Aberdeen, which was eliminated from the New York-Penn League playoffs last night. Anything to keep him active.
He got busy yesterday.
Let’s not overlook Darren O’Day’s two scoreless innings, especially since we had seen him only once since Aug. 28. He should be freshened up. And how Jim Johnson dominated in the ninth. Also impressive.
I accidentally left my notepad inside the meeting room beside the manager’s office after the game, having tossed it on a chair while recording Showalter’s session with the media. He normally meets with reporters in the auxiliary clubhouse, but the venue changed because it wasn’t a MASN broadcast.
I raced back downstairs from the press box to retrieve it and noticed that Wieters was inside the video room. The guy was studying tape after his walk-off single.
He sure has a lot to learn about taking a day off.
Wei-Yin Chen notched his 13th quality start, which ranks third on the club behind Chris Tillman (18) and Miguel Gonzalez (16).
The Orioles are 5-for-43 with runners in scoring position over their last five games.
Danny Valencia is batting .563 (18-for-32) since Aug. 4, but he probably won’t be in the lineup today against right-hander Andre Rienzo.
The Orioles are hosting Minor League Affiliate Appreciation Day, which includes a pregame ceremony to reveal the 2013 award winners for player development and scouting.
I expect right-hander Mike Wright, 23, to receive the Jim Palmer Minor League Pitcher of the Year award. Wright was 11-3 with a 3.26 ERA in 26 starts with Double-A Bowie. He allowed 152 hits, walked 39 and struck out 136 in 143 2/3 innings.
Perhaps most impressive, Wright made his Triple-A debut on the final day of Norfolk’s season and tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings with a playoff berth on the line. He allowed six hits, didn’t walk a batter and struck out two in the Tides’ 1-0 10-inning loss to Durham.
Wright, a third-round pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft out of East Carolina, is 24-10 in three professional seasons.
I also expect Urrutia to narrowly beat out Bowie catcher Caleb Joseph for the Brooks Robinson Minor League Player of the Year award.
Urrutia posted a .365/.433/.550 line with 16 doubles, seven homers and 37 RBIs in 52 games with Bowie and a .316/.358/.430 line with five doubles, a triple, two homers and 13 RBIs in 29 games at Norfolk. Joseph hit .299/.346/.494 with 31 doubles, two triples, 22 homers and 97 RBIs in 518 at-bats with Bowie.
Yes, Joseph is 27 and playing in the Eastern League, but those numbers are award-worthy. And he’s now on the Orioles’ “screen,” according to Showalter.
He’s deserving. I’m just saying...