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July 12, 2011

Wieters' first All-Star performance not so memorable

In case you missed it, Orioles catcher Matt Wieters made the first All-Star Game appearance of his career late Tuesday night when he entered as a defensive replacement in the bottom of the sixth inning at Chase Field in Phoenix.

Wieters caught a scoreless sixth from the Cleveland Indians' Chris Perez, who gave way to the Seattle Mariners' Brandon League in the seventh. League allowed a leadoff single to the Houston Astros' Hunter Pence, then struck out the Chicago Cubs' Starlin Castro.

With the San Francisco Giants' Pablo Sandoval at the plate, Wieters couldn't handle a pitch from League, the passed ball allowing Pence to move from first to third before scoring on Sandoval's ground-rule double.

Unfortunately for Wieters, who did not allow a single passed ball in the first half of the regular season and has been sterling defensively, this one came on a much bigger stage than the Orioles usually play on.

That said, the National League already held a 3-1 lead -- on their way to a 5-1 victory -- when Wieters allowed the passed ball, so it's not as if the miscue came in a particularly high-stakes situation.

In his only plate appearance, Wieters grounded out to second base to lead off the eighth.

Posted by Steve Gould at 11:33 PM | | Comments (18)


You can't blame Wieters for the past ball- he isn't used to catching for all-star arms. His zero past balls stat probably has as much to do with the total lack of upper 90s live arms on the Os as it does his defensive prowess.

And a weak groundout in his lone at-bat? That's no surprise either...

Wow Andrew! Now aren't you just a ray of sunshine this glorious day!

I stayed up to watch Wieters bat against my better judgement because I should have known that he would hit a weak ground ball to 2nd base no matter which side of the plate he hit from. Ugh!

Why do some fans insist on coming to forums to bash quality people like Weiters. They are obviously not real fans just imposters who only like them when things are going good.
They're kind of like that that ten year old girl that liked you one day and the next she hates you, fickle fans.

I'm glad Weiters got in the game. He did give the slow, low Orioels a place on the all star team. He did better than lots of his all star (and Oriole) team mates, by not striking out.

Give blame when blame is due. Weiters swung on the first pitch and hit out weakly. This was a time when the O's and Weiters could have at least got some decent press on the national scene, but Weiters, epitomizing the O's play all season, barely got a mention before he was back in the dugout. Take a cue from the Y's and Sox - take a pitch, guys. Quite sad and embarrassing, I thought.

Obviously a guy hitting below .260 and less then 35 RBI's doesnt deserve to be in an All Star Game. Defensive specialists aren't all stars. How many All Star games has Bruce Bowen been too in the NBA. I agree with Andrew, him not catching good pitchers showed as he was surpised a couple times on how much the ball moved.

So Jim from FI, remind me, when exactly were things going good for the Os?


Let's be fair about what happened. League was wild. Wieters target was down and outside, whereas League threw up and in. Even the fox broadcasters repeatedly said that Wieters got crossed up. That wasn't on Wieters at all. Another factor is the fact that he had never caught any of these guys.

That said, if Wieters had started the game, there wouldn't be any stolen bases, and the score would have been very different. You can take that to the bank.

Hey Jim, I have been an O's fan for 50+ years (ugh!). Weiters played the low energy game that has become the norm for the O's for the past 10 years. He is no allstar....pretty average at option we have at catcher currently though.

I wish Washington would have put Wieters in in the bottom of the 5th, since Avila had just batted.

I know Avila's no slouch, but I just kept thinking Wieters would have pegged Castro at either second or third. Would have been great to see him have a chance to showcase that arm on the national stage.

I'm not bashing anyone- it isn't exactly a secret that the Orioles don't have any dominating pitchers. League can hit 100 on the radar gun and his throws take a dive at the plate; Wieters has likely never caught anyone like that.

And the observation about the weak ground-out was more a joke than anything else- you have to admit the guy hits an awful lot of weak ground-outs for a 6'5 230 pound catcher who was supposed to be a power hitter.

Lest you get the wrong impression- I like Wieters and am hopeful that he'll continue to develop as a hitter. By no means am I among the Os followers (and members of the sports media) who have already labeled the guy a bust. However, I am hoping that we get more than a .260-.270 BA, 15-20 HR hitter over the long run. Anyone who is satisfied with that from a top draft pick needs to have their head examined.

I watched the stolen bases on Avila and knew they wouldn't have done that on Wieters. Next inning Matt's behind the plate. Too bad he didn't get a chance to show off his arm.

Matt may not be a Joe Mauer hitter, and he made a mistake, but he's clearly the best throwing catcher in baseball right now.

Since both Guthrie and Jim Johnson both throw in the upper 90's (I've seen both at 95-97), I think the thought that Weiters hasn't caught hard throwing guys doesn't hold up. (Plus, Johnson's balls have good movement as well.)

I'll never understand how a guy dreams of making the MLB all star team for 25 years, and finally making the all star team, doesn't give himself more than 10 seconds at the plate. One pitch, one swing, an out, back on the bench before the announcer can even mention the player's name.

And they should get rid of the requirement that each team needs to be represented on the AS team. The Os had no all stars this year, so why pretend otherwise? No knock on Matt, but he's not there yet.

Agree totally with Mesotheliangelos. I was at the game, albeit in nosebleed seats, and the NL was running wild on Avila. Maybe it was their lead but I don't recall them trying Wieters.

So Jim from FI, remind me, when exactly were things going good for the Os?
Sadly ghankstewart,
It's beeen awhile ago. But I am old enough to remember. I guess thats the difference between myself and the rest of fans is that I,m old enough to remember the Good ole days.
I agree with Baltimoregeof the theory that Weiters hasn't caught heat and movement like League is rediculous.
Hell most of the time LEAGUE DOESN'T GET IT OVER THE PLATE...

No past balls because every ball gets scalded for hit before it even gets to Matt!

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.

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