4/19/2013 7:31 P.M. ET
Infielders contribute to caught-stealing success
By Elliot Smith / Special to MLB.com
BALTIMORE -- When catcher Matt Wieters threw out Tampa Bay's Desmond Jennings on a stolen-base attempt Thursday, it raised the Orioles' MLB-best caught stealing percentage to 80 percent (8-of-10). Wieters has thrown out 7-of-9 runners, while Taylor Teagarden threw out the only baserunner he faced.
Baltimore's catchers have thrown out more would-be base stealers than the next two best American League clubs combined -- Cleveland has four and Houston has three.
"Do you know how hard that is? To catch a ball, frame it for a strike, try not to get up too quick and block the umpire, throw accurately to second base, second baseman or shortstop catches the ball and tags him," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "J.J. [Hardy] is a great tagger. [Ryan] Flaherty had a great tag the other day. That's a tool we talk about with the infielders. What kind of tagger are they? There are some guys who aren't very good taggers."
Showalter responds to Ryan's scheduling criticism
BALTIMORE -- New York Jets coach Rex Ryan raised a few eyebrows Thursday when he lashed out at the Orioles and Major League Baseball for keeping the O's at home on Sept. 5, the same night the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens are scheduled to open the NFL season.
The NFL schedule, announced Thursday, has the Ravens opening on the road in Denver to avoid a scheduling conflict with the Orioles, who host the White Sox on Sept. 5 at 7:05 p.m. ET.
"I understand the Orioles are playing a game at home. Well, who really cares?" Ryan told reporters on a conference call. "You've got 81 of them things at home and maybe you could've done the right thing and given one up and played 82 on the road and 80 at home. I really don't think people are going to care about that game."
Orioles manager Buck Showalter, who noted that he filled out the Ravens' schedule in his planner in order to attend a game or two, said the combustible Jets coach, a former Baltimore assistant, has bigger issues on his hands.
"He ought to be a little more concerned about Nov. 24, when the Jets come here, and try to figure out a way to beat the Ravens," Showalter said. "That would be a little bit more of a challenge. I try to stay out of things I don't know about. I don't know about the NFL schedule or the NFL's challenges. That would be my advice."
Mattingly shares mutual admiration with Buck
BALTIMORE -- Before Friday's game, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly spent quite a bit of time discussing his friendship with Orioles skipper Buck Showalter, similar to the way Showalter spoke fondly of Mattingly on Thursday.
"Wow. We go back to [Double-A] Nashville," Mattingly said of the friendship between him and Showalter that began in the minors in 1981. "That's a long time."
While their time as Minor League teammates was short, the pair became friends over time, with Mattingly gaining a great appreciation for Showalter when the latter served as New York Yankees manager.
"The view he had on talent was always good," Mattingly said. "He always knew who could play and who couldn't, and he knew how you were supposed to play. That's what was always kind of impressive with Buck. He knew young talent and how you were supposed to play the game."
Interleague Play poses problems for O's
BALTIMORE -- The Orioles are used to scouting and preparing to play American League East foes like Tampa Bay and the Yankees in April. Getting ready to face the Los Angeles Dodgers is another test entirely.
With Interleague Play occurring on a near-daily basis, teams must adjust their scouting to account for an unfamiliar visit from the other league.
"It's a real challenging time," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "We were here after the game until after midnight trying to get ready and we spent the whole day [Friday] trying to gather information to present to our players."
Showalter said he often uses his players who have a National League background to help with scouting, but even that isn't always reliable.
"Things change," he said. "Obviously, the Dodgers have changed a lot."
And, with the opportunity to use the designated hitter when visiting an American League park, National League teams often feel as if they have an advantage.
"They've got people they would like to DH," Showalter said. "It's a lot easier transformation for them here than it is for us going there."
Elliot Smith is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.