First off, let’s once again keep in mind that this is Spring Training. However if this were the regular season and pre-2012 at that you could chalk yesterday’s 4-3 loss to Minnesota up as about “par for the course.” Either that or you could say that somehow the Baltimore Orioles always seem to invent ways to lose. Luckily this isn’t the regular season, and this certainly isn’t the pre-2012 Orioles. However my eyebrows did go up a bit after seeing how this one ended. Tampa’s Wil Myers was awarded home plate after Orioles’ catcher Luis Exposito was charged with interference when umpire John Hirschbeck ruled he used his mask to corral the ball. After the game manager Buck Showalter didn’t seem to agree too much with the call, however he also didn’t appear to have the urge to go out and argue a call in Spring Training.
Rookie Kevin Gausman started for the O’s, and with mixed results at that. Gausman’s line: 2.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 2 K. One of the runs off of Gausman came after he exited and former Oriole Luke Scott belted a home run off of Mike Belfiore, scoring a runner for which Gausman was responsible. Gausman said after the game that he was very happy with secondary pitches such as his slider and changeup. He didn’t have the best command of his fastball, and they were topping out at 91-92 MPH at that (after hitting 97-98 MPH against Boston in his previous outing). That’s just something that Gausman has to work on, and games such as these are going to happen with a guy that was drafted the previous June. This is all part of the maturation process of a young pitcher at this level.
Tampa took a 3-0 lead into the fifth inning which quickly evaporated after Matt Wieters took to the plate with two runners on. Wieters’ home run tied the game at three, which is where it remained until the top of the 9th when Exposito was called for interference (resulting in the would-be winning run for Tampa). Dylan Bundy retired the side in order in the 7th inning, and his fastball seemed to be right on cue. Bundy is also a year older than Gausman and thus has one extra camp (and a cup of coffee in the big leagues last September) under his belt.
Rounding out the schedule for this weekend, the Orioles will play split-squad games today (vs. Boston and at Tampa) and Sunday (vs. Minnesota and at Philadlephia). Tomorrow afternoon’s game at 1 PM at Toronto in Dunedin will air on WBAL-AM 1090 with Orioles’ radio network announcers Joe Angel and Fred Manfra, as will Sunday afternoon’s home game against Minnesota. Sunday’s game will also be televised on MASN. Sunday is also “Go Green Day” at Ed Smith Stadium, which is being held in conjunction with St. Patrick’s Day. The O’s will wear green versions of the cartoon bird caps for the game against Minnesota, which will later be auctioned off for charity at www.orioles.com/spring (proceeds go to benefit the Monte Maine Laboratory Animal Hospitals in Sarasota). The Orioles’ B-squad will also wear the green caps in their game against Philadelphia that day.