Joseph may not be labeled as Miley’s personal catcher, but he’s behind the plate for every start this month.
It’s quite a shift from last summer, when Joseph was paired once with Miley in a Sept. 18 game against the Rays. The veteran responded with four scoreless inning and only one hit allowed before exiting with cramping in his back.
Who knew that a partnership was born?
“He’s a redneck like me,” Joseph said, grinning. “We get along good. He’s a bulldog. He’s a left-handed pitcher who works fast, he’s got four pitches. If you can get four pitches over and be quality major league pitches, any catcher on the planet should be able to do a lot of damage with that.
“Not a lot of left-handed sinkerballers. He’s got a lot of weapons and any time you’ve got weapons, you feel comfortable. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing again. Even Ubaldo (Jiménez). He’s got weapons. So you don’t necessarily feel like you get boxed into a corner. Does that make any sense? Where you’re kind of stuck on one or two pitches. The more options you have, the better your chances are of having success.”
Miley allowed one hit in five scoreless innings in his April 9 debut against the Yankees, but he walked seven batters to go with five strikeouts. He took the mound again on Friday against the Blue Jays and allowed three runs in six innings, with no walks and eight strikeouts.
“I’m comfortable with him,” Joseph said. “Doesn’t take long. Two games, maybe three in spring training, and I felt like I had been catching him for years. And I watched 10 or 12 games last year, too. You just watch what he likes to do and how he works and then you try to throw in a little bit of what you think will work, and hopefully it works. And so far it has. We’ll try to do it again tonight.”
Joseph is fine with the arrangement continuing. It gets him off the bench and he enjoys working with Miley.
“Two good-looking guys. You really can’t go wrong with that,” Joseph said.
“I really don’t know. I think probably the same thing was said about Tilly (Chris Tillman) and Nick Hundley a couple years ago. I’m not sure this is going to be a staple. Obviously, Buck (Showalter) has confidence in all of us to catch everyone, but I do enjoy catching Wade. I like the way he works and having the weapons. I think it’s broadening what he can do on the mound.
“There’s books out and with all the technology and all the information, you kind of get a sense of how pitchers are and how they like to work. I think Wade has had a few weapons that he might not have explored in some time and I feel like we’ve been able to explore those in the last couple games, without giving away all the trade secrets. But he has the option of moving the ball all around with all of his pitches, so when you can do that, the possibilities are infinite, really, versus sticking to one set way of doing it.”
The Reds like to run, their 17 stolen bases leading the majors. Center fielder Billy Hamilton is first with seven.
Joseph must balance getting the ball quickly and still allowing Miley to stick to his game plan and not compromising his pitches.
“It’s tough, to be honest with you, because there comes a point where quality pitches are more important than throwing guys out,” Joseph said. “We know, me and Welington (Castillo), we feel we throw the ball pretty good and if we’re given a chance, we can do some damage. It’s kind of similar to the playoffs with (Jarrod) Dyson. Everybody kind of made a big deal out of that, and this is one of the premier base stealers, but hopefully we get him out four times and he’s never on base. That’s the best way to combat players that wreak havoc on the bases, just get them out when you can.
“There are guys on every team that you’re not going to say you look forward to, but you know it’s kind of a mano a mano gig. You’re probably going to go and it’s my job to throw you out, and hopefully you succeed.”