Nick Markakis extended his hitting streak to 13 games today with a leadoff single in the bottom of the first inning.
Markakis is 20-for-52 (.385) during the streak.
Markakis and Toronto’s Jose Bautisa are the only players in the majors with two streaks of 12 or more games this season.
Naturally, Markakis’ hit today came in the first. He’s now 24-for-59 (.407) in the opening frame this season.
Nick Hundley is starting behind the plate today for the Orioles after Caleb Joseph caught last night.
Manager Buck Showalter didn’t want to play Joseph in a day game following a night game, and he wanted the rookie to catch Kevin Gausman last night. Joseph worked with Gausman at Triple-A Norfolk. Also, Showalter said he wanted Hundley to watch Gausman pitch before catching him.
Lots of moving parts, as Showalter says.
Joseph has six hits and three RBIs in his 16 major league games. All three of his RBIs have been game-winners.
His fifth-inning double Saturday gave the Orioles a lead they would not relinquish, his RBI double June 3 at Texas put the Orioles up 3-2 and his first RBI in the big leagues, which came on a bases-loaded walk May 20 at Pittsburgh, put the Orioles up 2-1.
Joseph was the Eastern League’s Player of Year in 2013 after batting .299 with 31 doubles, 22 homers and 97 RBIs at Double-A Bowie. The Orioles just needed him to show that he could handle the workload behind the plate. Defense comes first with backup catchers.
So far, Joseph has thrown out six of 15 runners attempting to steal. That works.
Asked whether he’s surprised by Joseph’s defense, Showalter replied, “Not going by what people told me.”
“Some guys hit better in the big leagues, believe it or not,” he added. “The lights are better, the umpiring supposedly is better, the travel’s better, locker rooms are better. They take to that. And I can’t tell you how different the lights are here in the big leagues compared to the minor leagues. So many adjustments to be made. And Caleb, he’s always had the mind for it.
“I applaud Brady (Anderson) about it. Brady was always pumping me about Caleb. He said, ‘Let’s not miss the boat on this kid.’ He said he’s going to be a late bloomer. Very visual when you talk to him.
“When I took Brian (Matusz) out of the game last night, he was killing himself about Eric Sogard. Three hitters before about something he did. He cares, and I think as much as you talk about winning, being a part of development in the minor leagues, when you get up here, you realize that there’s a certain intensity that no matter how much you try, you can’t duplicate it in the minor leagues. But I still think Caleb’s going to hit a little bit, which he has.
“He’s gotten some big hits for us, but I think he understands the priority is throwing better. Some things that John Russell and him did in spring training with Don Werner really seems to have helped him some, his footwork.”
Though Matt Wieters is on the disabled list, he can serve as a nice role model for Joseph.
“Up here, you’ve got to cheat with your footwork as the ball’s coming,” Showalter said. “If you wait and then do your footwork... If you ever watch Matt in slow motion, Matt’s feet are moving and almost in place to throw before he even catches it the ball.”