In the photo above, Matt Wieters(notes) is surrounded by zealots who seek to place their hands upon him. It happens wherever he goes. That Wigginton-looking fanatic on the right is particularly enthusiastic.
Wieters hit a two-run, opposite-field walkoff on Wednesday, leading Baltimore to a 4-2 win over Tampa Bay. He also gunned down Carl Crawford(notes) twice on stolen base attempts. (Video here. That's just the second time in his career that Crawford has been nailed twice in a game. The second caught-stealing required an almost impossible throw). In his last two games, Wieters is 4-for-7 with two homers and eight RBIs. His average is now .273.
Never mind that Wieters seems to homer the way WNBA players dunk – everything scrapes the wall – or that his first month in the majors was a struggle. You'll get a second helping of hype next year. Join the movement, non-believer. We're a welcoming community.
Please, if you can spare a few minutes, meet us downstairs in the fellowship hall after Closing Time for sandwiches and punch…
• While it's true that Brian Fuentes(notes) blew another save on Wednesday, he was also dealing with a mysterious, unconquerable strike zone. Over on the right you'll see every pitch in the game-tying two-out walk to Nick Green(notes) (via MLB's Gameday). Somehow that ninth pitch was called a ball.
Give credit to Green for battling, but…well, he should have struck out looking to end the game. (Video). Fuentes referred to the umpires as "timid" and "scared," and you'll get no argument here.
Mike Scioscia's postgame comments were both spectacular and appropriate:
"What was the count at the end, 3-4 to Green? I thought we had him a couple of times. I was surprised."
• Huston Street(notes) threw a bullpen session on Wednesday, and he's expected to return to active duty on Sunday. "He understands that his first and possible second outings will not be as the closer," according to the Denver Post's Troy Renck. Interim closer Franklin Morales(notes) had his second straight shaky appearance on Wednesday, allowing three straight singles to begin the ninth. Rafael Betancourt(notes) replaced him, earning a degree-of-difficulty save.
• Roy Oswalt(notes) has mercifully been shut down due to back problems. He's allowed 16 hits and 10 earned runs over his last seven innings while "pitching with a degenerative disk in his back," per the Houston Chronicle. Cut him loose, gamers. He can't help you now.
• The Brewers are "revisiting the idea of shutting down right-hander Yovani Gallardo(notes) for the season," reports Adam McCalvy of MLB.com. The 23-year-old Gallardo is sixth in the N.L. in total pitches thrown (3124) and Milwaukee is 12.0 games behind Colorado in the Wild Card hunt, so the move makes plenty of sense. But that doesn't mean Gallardo himself is satisfied with the plan:
"I don't want to be shut down. I want to finish out the year strong," Gallardo said. "We're trying to find ways to make that happen."
• In other Milwaukee news, shortstop Alcides Escobar(notes) went 4-for-5 against the Cubs, raising his average to .312 after 77 at-bats. The speedy 22-year-old stole a base in his first appearance this year on August 12, but he didn't even attempt another until Sept. 13. Escobar swiped 42 bases in 109 Triple-A games earlier in the year. That's where he'll ultimately contribute, fantasy-wise.
• Funston would probably want you to know that young Mike Carp(notes) finally homered in the majors. Carp hit .271/.372/.446 with 15 HRs at Triple-A Tacoma this season. He's a person of interest in dynasty formats.
• Trevor Cahill(notes) one-hit the Rangers over seven innings on Wednesday, recording a season-high seven strikeouts. Cahill has had a nice run over the past month, going 3-0 with 20 Ks in 35 innings since August 16. In that six-game stretch, his WHIP is 1.09 and his ERA is 2.57.
• Important note here from the AP recap of the Rockies-Giants tilt: "Bochy said he would not tweak his rotation with an off day Thursday. That means reigning Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum(notes) will pitch Sunday in Los Angeles and can only make three more starts, instead of four, if he goes on regular rest the remainder of the season."
• These three Friday probables are all in play for fantasy purposes, and they're all available in at least 70 percent of Yahoo! PLUS leagues: Tim Stauffer(notes) at Pittsburgh (23 percent-owned), Brian Duensing(notes) vs. Detroit (30 percent) and Rick VandenHurk(notes) at Cincinnati (four percent). We shouldn't need to tell streamers how useful the left-handed Duensing has been. He's 3-0 in his six starts for Minnesota this season with 28 Ks and 10 walks in 36 innings.
Photos via AP Images