One of the big underlying points of last night’s game was that catcher Caleb Joseph made his much-deferred major league debut. Joseph was drafted in 2008, and finally made it up to the big leagues after over six years. After finding out that Matt Wieters wouldn’t have to go to the DL, the Baltimore Orioles optioned Jermile Weeks to triple-A Norfolk and officially called up Joseph.
Joseph’s first task as a big league catcher was calling the game for starter Bud Norris, and while Norris’ pitch count got up there, for all intents and purposes Joseph called a good game. Norris’ line: 5.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 4 BB, 5 K. A lot of people continue to point to starters’ pitch counts, and perhaps with good reason. However keep in mind that Oriole pitchers have a lot of pitches fouled off on a regular basis. People should be worried if guys are missing their spots; for the most part, that’s not occurring here.
The Orioles jumped out to a 1-0 lead when Adam Jones hit the first pitch he saw in the second inning off the ballpark facade in center field. When Jones’ turn in the lineup came around again, he literally did the same thing – meaning that he hit the ball to the same spot in the park. However Norris struggled a bit in the last of the fifth, allowing David DeJesus to homer on the first pitch of the inning. But to his credit (and to that of Caleb Joseph), Norris pitched out of it.
However Sean Rodriguez‘s RBI-single in the last of the sixth tied the game at two, granting Norris a no-decision on the night. But the O’s were done quite yet either. Steve Pearce got aboard in the top of the seventh with a single up the middle, and Jonathan Schoop followed
that up with the Orioles’ third homer of the night. Suddenly the Orioles led again, and by two at that.
Tommy Hunter gave up an RBI-single in the last of the ninth and had the winning run on first, however he got out of it to record the win. So the Birds find themselves in a situation going into what’s normally a “rubber match” on the final day or a series whereby they’ve already won the series.
Caleb Joseph had a great game behind the plate in his big league debut. He wasn’t able to record his first major league hit, however behind the dish he was invaluable to Oriole pitching. I obviously don’t know, however I suspect that Joseph will be with the Orioles until Chris Davis is ready to return to the club. It’s unclear when Matt Wieters will be able to resume the catching duties for the O’s, however the fact is that’s why Joseph is here.
As I alluded above, the O’s will have a shot at a sweep tomorrow night in Tampa. Ubaldo Jimenez will take to the mound for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s David Price. After a disappointing weekend in Minnesota, a sweep of their division rivals would be a huge pickup for the Orioles. One more thing about Caleb Joseph; kudos to him for hanging in there in the minors for as long as he did. His call up to the big leagues was more than well deserved and earned. A lot of people, myself included, would have given up and/or looked at conventional wisdom telling them that they’d never make it to the big leagues. But his patience and perseverance paid off. I hope for his sake his first game was a pleasurable experience all-around; I’m sure the entire day is a moment he’ll never forget.