Needless to say, the Orioles have played well under Florida’s blonde sunshine the past few days. Through the first part of spring training the O’s were seemingly struggling to put runs on the board, although their pitching has been a pleasant surprise for the entire way. However the past couple days have seen Oriole bats explode after beating Minnesota 11-1 on Thursday, Boston 6-5 yesterday, and of course today’s 12-3 assault on Washington pitching. The Orioles put 17 hits on the board on the way to their 12 runs to beat Washington today, nine of which were earned. Perhaps the most impressive feat was that they beat one of Washington’s big off season aquisitions in Edwin Jackson in doing it.
Jake Arrieta seemed a little shaky in the first, giving up a run right off the bat. I also felt that Arrieta was squeezed just a bit, however he seemed to rebound nicely finishing with a line of : 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K. Those stats translate over nine innings into statistics that will win you games. Today’s game also saw the Orioles’ debut of Dontrelle Willis, who definitely appeared a bit shaky in his one inning. Willis gave up two runs (only one of which was earned) over three hits. However while Willis is a veteran, this was his first game so we should probably cut him a bit of a break. Darren O’Day, Luis Ayala, and Matt Lindstrom all pitched one scoreless inning as well for the Orioles.
The main story line in this game was Oriole bats. Matt Wieters had perhaps one of the best days you’re ever going to have in spring training, going 4-for-4 with a homer and six RBI. Nolan Reimold also chimed in with a home run, and Adam Jones went 3-for-3 with two runs scored. Granted the Nationals left some of their regulars back in Viera today, the O’s did put up those numbers against Edwin Jackson. If Wieters is seeing the ball that well coming out of a pitcher like Jackson’s hand, the O’s might put up more offensive numbers than we think.
The question is whether or not this is the status quo. The answer is no. You’re not going to consistently put up 11-12 runs on people no matter how good you are. However the fact is that the idea of getting guys on base equaling runs worked it’s magic today. The O’s had three unearned runs in that mix, but that means that out of 12 they earned nine of them. That’s still a large number. Furthermore, had those errors happened while nobody was on base, they wouldn’t have necessarily yielded runs.
Again, at some point the Orioles will put up only a couple of runs in a game. For the same reason that we shouldn’t get overly excited about this, we can’t complain about that when it happens either. However the Orioles were able to take advantage of Washington’s mistakes and get runs on the board today, which is a good sign. In the past we’ve seen them let people off the hook when they mess up, only to have other teams jump on them when they mess up. Today the Orioles showed a true eye of the tiger at the plate in that they smelled weakness and ran with it.
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