During the early stages of last night’s game, the MASN cameras captured a dugout conversation between Buck Showalter and O’s catcher Matt Wieters.
Today, both revealed they were discussing a situation from the top of the first inning when the Angels had runners on first and third with two outs and Torii Hunter stole second.
The O’s did not throw to second base to attempt to get Hunter out. The new manager and the young catcher discussed that situation and what could happen in a similar spot in later games.
“We were talking about first and third,” Showalter said. “We’re not always going to be eating that ball there, but with them going first move off Matusz at 1.5 or 1.6 to the plate, there is no way he (Wieters) is going to throw him out.
“I just want him to know we are not always going to eat the ball there. It has nothing to do with him, just the fact that Matusz is slow to the plate. If he goes first movement, Johnny Bench isn’t going to throw him out, though Johnny might disagree with me.”
Wieters appreciated the input from his new skipper.
“He was just explaining what his thoughts were and I completely agree with what he was thinking. Let Matusz get the guy at the plate with Torii running.”
Some thought it appeared that Showalter was stern in his conversation with Wieters, but that was not the case.
“No, nothing like that. More teaching,” Wieters said.
The Angels stole four bases in the early innings last night. When Wieters threw Hunter out trying to steal third in the ninth, it snapped a stretch of 26 straight stolen bases vs. O’s pitchers and catchers.
“We definitely have had a stretch since we have thrown out a runner. Good to get that one last night late in the game. It’s a combination of things. We haven’t made great throws and, at the same time, the pitchers are trying to give us a shot,” Wieters said.
“A lot of the situations they are running in, we are trying to get the hitter at the plate and that’s the most important thing.
“But as a catcher, you always take pride in throwing out runners. We want to get back to doing that. For a while, we were doing a pretty good job. Now we want to try and get back to it.”
The Angels are 6th in the league in steals and are known as a team that will try to put pressure on an opposing catcher and defense.
“They are like Tampa of the West. They’ll run and they’ve got a lot of speed guys. They’ll try to do the same thing tonight. We need to keep them off the base, that’s the best way to keep them from stealing.”
Wieters said some of the O’s young players can learn a lot from Showalter.
“Just the knowledge he has of the game is going to be great for this ballclub, especially with all the young guys we have on the team. Two wins is a good way to start.”
By the way, the Angels four steals last night tied an O’s opponent season high for the year.
Earlier in the season, Wieters was first in the AL in caught stealing percentage. Now he ranks 6th at 28.3 percent. Seattle’s Rob Johnson is first at 35.3.
As a team, the O’s have thrown out 23.1 percent to rank 11th in the AL.
Worst AL teams in caught stealing percentage:
17.8 - New York
20.1 - Boston
22.4 - Los Angeles
23.1 - Baltimore