The Baltimore Orioles’ offensive output in last night’s game in Anaehim came from Caleb Joseph. And when I say it came from Caleb Joseph, I mean exclusively from Caleb Joseph. Oriole bats were silent, but in essence so were the bats of Anaheim. It was a pitcher’s duel, and the O’s were outlasted.
Jeremy Hellickson turned in a quality start for the Orioles, albeit in a losing effort. Hellickson’s line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 9 K. It’s tough to be critical when your starter turns in numbers and an effort like that. However that’s where your bats need to step up for you, and the Orioles were unable to do that last night.
Anaheim’s Cron smakced an RBI-single in the second inning, giving them a 1-0 lead. Caleb Joseph would do the same on the Orioles’ behalf in the fifth, which tied the game. He plated Beckham – who yes was on base yet again. Beckham’s a guy that a lot of people questioned when the Orioles traded for him. But he’s left little doubt that he’s been the right man for the organization.
Valbuena would give Anaheim the lead back in the last of the seventh with an RBI-double, and Cron would add an additional RBI-single. Jospeh would homer in the ninth to bring the Orioles to within 3-2, however they were unable to tie the game up past that. At the end of the day, you’re only as good as the sum of all your parts in any given day. On this night the pitching was definitely there, but the bats were not.
Buck Showalter was very complimentary of Hellickson after the game in his postgame comments, highlighting how difficult it can be to pitch on the road against a good team (quote coutesy of Steve Melewski, MASNsports):
Good. He was outstanding. Pitching on the road, tough lineup, team that’s playing real well. I can’t find anything to fault him with. Even that last inning, some well-placed balls that are usually outs. Simmons hit a ball hard, that’s about it. Darren did a great job to get out of that inning.
The Orioles will attempt to take the series in this afternoon’s series finale in Anaheim. Kevin Gausman heads to the mound for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Anaheim’s Troy Scribner. Game time is set for just after 3:30 PM this afternoon.
The silver lining for the Baltimore Orioles in yesterday’s 12-4 loss in New York was that catcher Caleb Joseph finally got an RBI. Two to be exact, by virtue of a two-run homer. Joseph of course went all of last season and up to yesterday without driving in a run.
But that’s about all that went right for the O’s yesterday, as the onslaught of New York bats continued from Friday night. In all seriousness, I have to wonder if someone, perhaps an infielder, isn’t accidentally tipping pitches. Because on Friday night it was like suddenly someone turned on a switch and suddenly New York seemed to know what was coming. That continued yesterday.
Ubaldo Jimenez couldn’t make it out of the fourth inning, which taxed the bullpen as well. Jimenez’s line: 3.1 IP, 5 H, 7 R (6 earned), 3 BB, 4 K. It boils down to fastball command or Jimenez, and yesterday he didn’t have it. To his credit, he was the first to admit that after the game (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):
I think I have to find my fastball command. I have to stay ahead most of the time. That’s what’s hurting me the most. I’m falling behind in the count and every time I come back, I get hurt.
That right there almost answers my point about someone tipping pitches. When you get yourself into counts where it’s obvious you have to throw a strike, it’s no mystery what’s coming next. So getting ahead in the count is important, because it allows a pitcher to pitch from a position of strength.
The onslaught started early when Gardner sent a solo homer over the wall in the last of the first. One inning later it was 2-0 on Romine’s sac fly-RBI, however Gardner would homer again later in the inning – this one of the three-run variety. Romine would also add a two-RBI single in the last of the fourth, and before the Orioles could blink they trailed 7-0.
The O’s would get two runs in the sixth, of the unearned variety. (When things are starting to go south you take runs however you can get them.) Machado scored on a throwing error, and Trumbo on a wild pitch later in the inning. The ironic part was that Caleb Joseph was at bat for that second run. At the time, he still hadn’t smacked in a run since 2015. So it had to add insult to injury to know that the Birds were able to score during his at-bat, but by virtue of the fact that it was an unearned run he doesn’t get an RBI.
Romine would add a two-run homer in the last of the sixth, Gregorious an RBI-double and Judge a two-run homer in the seventh. It should also be kept in mind that New York is a young team, which is why they’re so dangerous for the time being. In essence, they’re where the Orioles were circa 2011 – they have a great nucleus that should be together for awhile.
The difference is that New York is winning now, which isn’t necessarily supposed to happen. Whereas the 2011 Orioles were dangerous for the future, this NY team is dangerous in the future and in the here and now. On the flip side, as I said – they’re young. At some point they could just as easily remember that as they could forget it. The Orioles and the rest of the division are certainly hoping that they suddenly remember that they’re young and not expected to do anything this year.
The O’s did have a productive ninth inning however, and not just limited to Caleb Joseph. His two-run homer was the highlight however for sure, as he turned in his first runs batted in since 2015. But the Orioles worked the count well in the ninth inning, forcing New York to get a couple of additional relievers up in the bullpen. That’s something that could play into today’s game, as I suspect they weren’t anticipating on having to do that.
After the game the Birds optioned relievers Aquino and Nuno to triple-A Norfolk, more so to get some fresh arms in the ‘pen than anything else. It’s unclear who the corresponding moves will involve at this point. All we know for now is that they were sent out.
The O’s will try to salvage one game in this series as it concludes this afternoon. Wade Miley will be on the mound for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by New York’s Jordan Montgomery. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.
Is Caleb Joseph the anointed starting catcher for the Baltimore Orioles in 2017 and beyond? First off, to answer that question we’re assuming that Matt Wieters has no future in Baltimore. My personal opinion is that he won’t be back, which yes creates a vacancy behind the dish. But that’s not something that we obviously know for sure as of yet.
I suspect that the market for Wieters will start being set at next month’s fast-approaching Winter Meetings. But back to Joseph – are the Orioles prepared to go with him as their starting catcher assuming that Wieters walks? That would be the conventional wisdom I suppose, because he’s been more than a reliable backup to Wieters to this point. In 2015 he started for much of the first half of the season while Wieters was still injured…
…and the results were fairly good. While he only hit .234, he played a big role when he needed to do so. Last season of course he only hit at a .174 clip and couldn’t even deliver an RBI. However the fact is that you aren’t going to expect too much out of your catcher at the plate. If he can get a base hit here and there, maybe a home run, and perhaps move guys over on the base paths, you’re going to be happy.
Joseph does have a prowess behind the plate, and while he’s not Wieters he would probably have been starting last year on quite a few teams. However the question is whether or not he’s the heir-apparent if Wieters walks. Again, I say yes.
And not just for the fact that he is in fact a solid catcher. But who else is out there for the Orioles? The Birds have expressed interest in bringing back former catcher Nick Hundley, and there are several other decent catchers on the market this year as well. However the question is whether or not any of them are comparable with Joseph. And my personal opinion is that they are not.
To me it would serve no purpose to bring someone else in only to keep Joseph as a backup. He’s well liked in the clubhouse, and even if he doesn’t always get on base he does contribute. However we also know that often times teams will make guys compete for the starting job, and that might be where the Orioles go with Joseph. But at the end of the day, I think he starts behind the plate on Opening Day.