Unlike our European counterparts, we’re not overly impressed with games ending in ties in this country. They say a tie is like kissing your sister, but I look at ties as a loss for both teams. (Ironically the only major sport in which a game can end in a tie is NFL football.) Having said that, I suppose there’s no real harm in the Baltimore Orioles’ game with Toronto ending in a tie yesterday. Wins and losses aren’t overly important at this stage as has been said many times in the past. What’s important is how the games unfold and what stats are put up…
Steve Johnson pitched two innings and gave up two runs on two hits. Not exactly a perfect outing, but he pitched out of a couple of jams. Jair Jurrjens turned around and gave up three runs on 2.2 innings pitched. While that could be construed as a problem, the two teams combined for 29 hits in the entire game. The game was only tied due to the fact that Toronto put a run across against Zack Clark in the last of the ninth (previously the Orioles were leading 6-5). We should also keep in mind that ties in spring training games aren’t overly uncommon given that the visiting team (the Orioles in this case) only brings a finite number of pitchers and position players with them for each game. So given that wins and losses aren’t overly important, you might play one extra inning and then call it a day.
Nolan Reimold returned to the lineup as a DH but went o-for-3 in the game. Conor Jackson and Steve Pearce continue to put up decent numbers this spring, with Pearce homering twice in the game and Jackson once. These guys are making Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette’s jobs very difficult in the sense that they have to eventually decide who’s on the team. Pearce was briefly with the Orioles last season after being traded from the New York Yankees‘ organization. Ironically after the O’s released him and after a stint in Houston, he ended up back in New York. He’s since been claimed again by the Orioles. One thing last year’s team was noted for was depth within the entire organization, and at this point it appears that the 2013 Orioles will be more of the same. The Orioles have Jackson, Pearce, Ryan Flaherty, Chris Dickerson, and a few others, all of whom could be stashed in the minors until they’re needed (if they aren’t on the roster when the team breaks camp).
From an organizational standpoint I think the best news out of yesterday’s game was that rookie Kevin Gausman pitched a scoreless inning. He did give up a walk and two hits, but he also struck out two. Gausman pitches to contact, which in theory would indicate that he’d end up with runners on base from time to time. At some point I would think that Gausman will be re-assigned to minor league camp, however this is good experience for him in terms of getting reps in games at the big league level.
The Orioles will be back in Sarasota this afternoon however they’ll be taking on Team Spain from the World Baseball Classic. Buck Showalter said that many of the regular players will not be involved in today’s game. Hopefully the guys that do play will try to go out and win one for the good ol’ US of A!