Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
The Norfolk Tides played the Durham Bulls on Monday night in the second game of the four game series. The Norfolk Tides starting lineup looked pretty much the same. That is until you looked at the defensive positioning of the nine Tides players.
Brett Wallace, who usually plays at first base for the Tides, was the designated hitter. Brian Ward called the game from behind the plate as the catcher and Steve Clevenger was the unexpected first baseman for Monday’s game.
Clevenger has only played at first base in 15 games in the past three seasons in the Minors. He has only played a total of ten games as a first baseman in his short Major League career (four season).
This lack of experience would be an explanation for his fielding error that occurred in the bottom of the third inning. Besides that, Clevenger actually fielded the position quite well for not getting much playing time there.
On the offensive side of things, Clevenger went 0-3 on the night, but he did have an RBI in the top of the first inning when he hit a sacrifice fly to center field scoring Norfolk’s only run of the evening. Despite not getting a hit in Monday’s game, he is still hitting great in the Minors.
So far in the month of July, he is batting .381 with four RBIs and one home run. He is also the only player on the entire Tides roster who is batting above .300. Since being sent down to Norfolk from Baltimore, Clevenger’s bat has heated up.
It has been noted that Clevenger was not sent down to the Minors because of his hitting but rather because of how he called the game from behind home plate. The Orioles did not like how he framed pitches for their starters. If he could make it back up to the Majors as a backup first baseman, his reliability with the bat would a coup for the Orioles later in the season.