In a game that seemed to inch by little by little…and then a little bit more, the Baltimore Orioles fell for the first time in spring training 2014, by the score of 8-6 in Ft. Myers to Boston. First off a bit of context – the Orioles’ B, C, and D team fell to Boston’s A team. Even still, the O’s kept Boston’s lineup at bay for almost four innings. Brian Matusz got the start for the Orioles, and ended up with a pretty decent game. Matusz’s line: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K. Buck Showalter felt that the outing was strong for Matusz, who help the potent Boston lineup off the board for two innings.
Mike Napoli got Boston on the board in the fourth with a two-run homer, and in typical Boston
fashion the BoSox kept adding on runs – against Oriole reliever Eduardo Rodriguez, who in the end gave up four runs. However the only players who pitched for the Orioles yesterday that are looking to break camp with the big league club were Matusz and T.J. McFarland, who loaded the bases and allowed an additional three runs in the last of the eighth. McFarland struggled, but not unlike how relievers often struggle in games such as these in the spring. Managers and pitching coaches all but script these games pitch-by-pitch, and it’s often pre-determined when and how long someone is going to be in the game. That can at times be a tough act for which to ready oneself.
The O’s and BoSox were able to produce a pretty cool major league moment, when Boston hall of famer Carl Yastrzemski greeted an Oriole farm hand before the game – his grandson, Mike Yastrzemski. The two had the opportunity to talk around the batting cage prior to the game, and while Yaz (the hall of famer) was wearing BoSox colors one has to believe that he now has a soft spot for his grandson’s organization as well. The younger Yaz’s father (also named Mike, and Carl’s son) passed away in 2004, and since then Carl has been a father figure of sorts for his grandson. This is true obviously in a baseball sense, but also in real life. Family is always family.
Speaking of Mike Yastrzemski, he scored one of the runs in the Orioles’ five-run ninth inning, however it wasn’t enough to bring them all the way back as the Orioles managed to do on Saturday against Toronto. But if there’s one thing that Buck Showalter is seeing, it’s that he has fighters in the organization. Being down 8-1 in the top of the ninth would probably make a lot of guys start “going through the motions,” especially in a game that had already crawled on at a snail’s pace. But the youngsters (including Yaz) in the game at the end for the Orioles were invested in delivering a win for the team and they battled to the last out.
Going back to Matusz for a moment (and for the record he was a bright spot for the Orioles in yesterday’s game), he was to have flown to Philadelphia today to have a wart removed from his hand, however that’s been post phoned due to inclement weather on the east coast. Two of the ninth inning runs came off the bat of Jonathan Schoop, who delivered a two-RBI double. Schoop has been very sharp at the plate thus far in camp, which means that he could challenge for the second base job sooner rather than later. The O’s will return to Sarasota today to take on Minnesota at 1 PM, with Bud Norris making his first start of the spring.