Myriad Orioles Thoughts: Miley's 'weird' day; thoughts of Steve Barber; Joseph's luck - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Dan Connolly

Myriad Orioles Thoughts: Miley’s ‘weird’ day; thoughts of Steve Barber; Joseph’s luck

Let’s just call it an unusual pitching line.

Making his first start of the season, Miley carried a no-hitter into the fifth before allowing a one-out single to Aaron Hicks.

He threw five shutout innings, allowing that one hit, while striking out five.

And he walked seven batters.

Seven – tying his career high and setting his Orioles’ high. He walked the bases loaded in the second inning.

Ultimately, he threw 100 pitches, 56 for strikes, and somehow wiggled out of jams in every inning.

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“Lucky, Houdini, I don’t know. It was pretty weird,” Miley said. “Two or three hitters in a row I’d have zero command and then, for whatever reason, I’d lock it in and make some pitches, I guess, when I needed to. Definitely a weird outing.”

The Orioles, as a team, issued 11 walks. New York Yankees’ designated hitter Matt Holliday had five of them – a career high.

The strangest part is that Miley is usually a strike-thrower. But not Sunday.

“Probably not going to be very successful living on the edge like that throughout a full season, but was able to get out of some jams and keep (the score) down,” he said.

The wildest – and losingest – no-hitter

Miley’s slight flirtation with a no-hitter had me scrambling for the record book (actually, my Orioles book which is available on Amazon for … anyway).

The Orioles have thrown five no-hitters in their 63-year history, and none at Camden Yards (Boston’s Hideo Nomo is the only one with that distinction, in the second game of the 2001 season).

Jim Palmer’s lone no-hitter was a six-walk affair in 1969. But the wildest one for the Orioles was April 30, 1967, when local boy Steve Barber walked 10, hit two batters and allowed the first run to score on a wild pitch in the ninth.

Barber was replaced with two outs in the ninth and Stu Miller induced a grounder that would have kept the game tied at 1-1. But the Orioles young second baseman dropped the potential force out, allowing the second run to score and ultimately giving the Detroit Tigers a 2-1 victory even though they never got a hit.

Who was the young second baseman who made the error?

Mark Belanger, who later became one of the most sure-handed shortstops in baseball history.

Joseph’s streak – and bad luck — continues

Catcher Caleb Joseph entered Sunday – his first start of the season – on a streak of 160 at-bats and 172 plate appearances without one RBI. The streak goes back to Sept. 11, 2015, when Joseph drove in Chris Davis on a groundout in the sixth inning of a win against the Kansas City Royals.

His final 28 at-bats and 31 plate appearances that season were without a run driven in, and so were all 132 at-bats and 141 plate appearances in 2016. He is believed to be the only player in modern baseball history to have at least 100 at-bats in a season without a RBI.

He had two homers this spring, and said before Sunday’s start that he’s not going to get wrapped up in any offensive struggles this year.

“My number one goal is to impact the game defensively. What I bring on offense is a plus,” said Joseph, who hit .174 in 49 games last year. “I think it was more important in the spring (to get some offensive results). I have confidence in myself. I’m not sure I could have said that last year. I have a better idea of what I’m getting into and I have things that are actually repeatable. I’m very comfortable. If I go 0-for-4, it’s OK.”

Joseph nearly snapped his streak in the second inning Sunday. With runners on second and third and one out, Joseph smashed a one hopper to third that Chase Headley snagged and threw to first for the out. It was hit so hard and right at Headley that the runners had to hold. Just about anywhere else and it at least drives in a run.

Joseph was hitless in his other three at-bats, including a line drive to right field to end the game. His RBI-less streak sits at 164 at-bats – it’ll end at some point.

Remember, Joseph had 49 RBIs in 2015.

He can do it. He will do it. It’s just so strange that it keeps not  happening — even when he scorches a ball.

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