The Blue Jays take two of three games from the Orioles over the weekend, and now the Rays come to town.
It doesn’t get any easier.
Matt Wieters went 0-for-3 with strikeout yesterday against Jays left-hander Mark Buehrle and homered against right-hander Esmil Rogers. He’s now 3-for-11 with one home run and four RBIs from the right side, and 9-for-26 with two homers and three RBIs from the left side.
Are we still debating the whole switch-hitting thing?
It may have gone unnoticed yesterday with the Orioles trailing 11-3 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth - unless you follow me on Twitter - but rookie Jonathan Schoop deserves credit for winning an 11-pitch battle with Rogers and lining a double to left field. Never give up an at-bat.
Schoop kept fouling off pitches and eventually found one that he could pull down the line.
Nick Markakis extended his hitting streak to eight games yesterday with a single off the right field fence. He’s 11-for-31 with a double, triple, three RBIs and four runs scored during that stretch.
Is it just me, or have we seen a lot of singles off fences during the first few weeks of the season?
Delmon Young is 10-for-22 with two doubles, a home run, four RBIs and two runs scored during a five-game hitting streak. Chris Davis has reached base in 11 straight games.
Third base coach Bobby Dickerson took some heat from fans Friday night for holding Markakis at third base on Davis’ two-out single to right field that loaded the bases in the fifth. The Orioles were down 2-0.
Bautista inexplicably threw toward third base. Markakis would have scored easily. But Dickerson had no reason to anticipate Bautista’s decision.
Dickerson would have sent Markakis had the Orioles not been trailing or if the game had advanced to the later innings. Dickerson also took into account that Markakis isn’t the team’s fastest runner, Adam Jones was on deck after almost hitting a home run in his previous at-bat, and Bautista has a plus-arm with plus-accuracy.
Other than that ...
“We were talking about it in the advance meeting. Other than ours, probably as a group, that’s probably as good a throwing outfield as there is,” said manager Buck Showalter. “They can really throw, and that’s unusual to get all three of them. But you can also get too cautious, too. Bobby will be the first to tell you. Sometimes, you’ve got to make them throw you out.
“There’s about 10 things with that (play). One, Delmon stops at second because (Markakis) stopped at third. If Bobby sends him, Delmon’s out at third, so there’s a science and there’s an art. Coaching third base is an art. It’s not something you can program on a computer and SABR it up. That’s a feel.
“Bobby’s very good at it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a rookie third base coach have as good a year as he had last year. He has good judgment, and I trust him. I make a point to pat him on the back because he cares almost too much. He does his work and he serves a lot of roles for us here, and very well. He’s had great training to do it. I think the other night we could have played all night and not scored a run.
“Coaching third base is like managing a lot. You have to know who’s hot in your lineup, who’s not, regardless of your batting order. You have to think about who’s next, their bullpen, who’s up and who’s not up. By stopping a guy, who does that bring into a game? Who’s pitching for the other team? How many runs does he normally give up. How do your guys hit him? You think about all these things when you’re out there. I’ve done it. Coaching third base is an art. It’s not a science.”
Boston’s John Farrell is the first manager to be ejected for arguing with umpires over a reviewed call. He got tossed last night in the Bronx.
Showalter still hasn’t challenged a call. He poses some interesting questions regarding which ones are reviewable, and why.
For instance, a hit by pitch is reviewable, but not a checked swing. So what happens when a batter is hit with two strikes, but may not have checked his swing?
The Orioles recorded a strikeout on a Toronto batter over the weekend who appeared to be hit on the hand, but didn’t check his swing, in the opinion of the home plate umpire.
Catchers no longer are allowed to block the plate while waiting for a throw. But what about a pitcher covering home on a ball that gets past the catcher with a runner on third base?
Still not allowed.
Second and third base can be blocked, by the way. Just not the plate.
Wait long enough, and Showalter is bound to sing the praises of shortstop J.J. Hardy, who’s clearly one of his favorites.
“He’s one of those guys that, he’s done a good job and his teammates have done a good job of kind of letting the rest of the baseball world know how good he is, because sometimes he gets lost in the shuffle,” Showalter said. “You’ve got to see him every day. And then you see some plays that are not necessarily made when he’s not in there. Kind of reminds you a little bit.
“There’s a tendency to take people like him for granted. I watched five tag plays in my office after a game. There were five tag plays that guys would have been out if they had gone to a straddle of the bag as the throw’s coming, like J.J. does it. And those are five outs that he would have gotten on a tag play.
“Best tagger I’ve ever had. But that’s not something that ... they don’t chart taggers. They don’t chart accuracy. They don’t chart being in the right place on a relay. I can go on and on. It’s up to us to properly publicize someone.”