Baltimore Orioles: Matt Wieters – Clearly the Missing Link


Jun 5, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Baltimore Orioles catcher

Matt Wieters

(32) hits an RBI double during the fourth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Friday night’s 5-2 victory of the Baltimore Orioles over the Cleveland Indians marked the end of the first one-third of the season. After 54 games, the O’s are 25-29. As well, it was evident that having missed Matt Wieters for the first 53 games is the missing link reason why the Orioles are off to a less than stellar beginning of 2015.

Wieters doubled home the first run of the game, scored the second run, got an additional base hit, and drove home the final run with a sac fly. Not bad for his first official MLB game since May 10, 2014.

I would have never predicted this to happen. My fear would be that his time away for the surgery, recovery, etc. was going to be difficult from which to make much of a productive return. But Wieters was clearly in a very different place as compared to spring training.

I am mostly jesting of course in saying that Wieters is the missing link that will make all the difference in an offense that has been ailing for the past five weeks. But if Matt could somehow come back to the team with the sort of .308-like batting average that he had through his 26 games played a year ago, it would indeed be a HUGE difference in the O’s lineup.

And if, at the same time, Chris Davis and Adam Jones produced toward the high end of their abilities, the offense could indeed take off. Each has shown signs of renewed life, especially with Adam Jones getting the game-winning RBIs over the past two evenings with LONG home runs.

There were several other positive signs in the victory. Chris Tillman only gave up two runs in 6.1 innings.  He was far from perfect and “lights out,” but he was fairly solid and made some good pitches when needed.

And the legendary Orioles defense returned, with the entire team contributing at various times to make nice plays to register outs.  The Indians were quite the opposite in the field, and a successful argument could be made that the better defensive team won the game.

Thoughts on other Orioles roster moves and events

Everth Cabrera designated for assignment – in the category of produce or get pruned, Cabrera, like De Aza, got pruned. He was only batting .208 with a .250 OBP.  Though I don’t criticize Duquette and the Orioles for attempting these sorts of moves, I never was enthusiastic about Cabrera, and so I am not sad to see him go. Rey Navarro has been recalled. He batted .276 on an 8-for-29 earlier 10-game stint with the O’s, and he is hitting at a .315 clip for the Norfolk Tides.

More from Baltimore Orioles

Cesar Cabral brought up / Mike Wright sent down – The Orioles need some relief help, and why not bring up a player who is yet to give up a run at AAA this season. He has been unscathed through 17.2 inning in 19 games, allowing 14 hits. I do hate to see Mike Wright go down, but understand the reasoning. I would rather see him in the rotation than Bud Norris – who I have less expectation for success than Wieters or my whipping boy Flaherty. But we’ll see Mike Wright every fifth game next year, if not sooner.

Eight game suspension of Brian Matusz upheld – Again, I can’t imagine Matusz as a cheater. The substance on his arm was said to be rosin – an allowed agent. Though the league does not give reasons, I would suspect it is because he had it loaded up on his arm. If that is allowed, pitchers could put anything there and claim it is simply rosin. But, the punishment seems rather severe for the crime, and the Orioles are going to have to play with a 24-man roster.

Hey, our ACE Ubaldo Jimenez takes the mound today. Wow, what a strange season.

Next: O's Veterans Take Charge

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