First off, I want to thank all fans who tuned into the inaugural Birds Watcher radio show online yesterday. I apologize for the technical difficulties and for the rough nature of the show itself; all of that will improve as we go onward with this endeavor. But thanks goes out to all of our listeners and readers.
The Baltimore Orioles played another pitchers duel yesterday, however this time they came up
on the short end of a 4-3 decision in Dunedin, FL against Toronto. However the story of this game was the performance of starter Miguel Gonzalez, who said after the game that he was content with his performance. Gonzalez’s line: 4 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 3 K. So to review, the Orioles had presumed starter Chris Tillman with a quality outing on Saturday followed by presumed starter Miguel Gonzalez with a quality outing yesterday. (Note that I’m using the term quality outing rather liberally; not in the true sense of the term.) If there’s one thing that we’ve noticed this spring, it’s that the Orioles’ presumed starting rotation has looked very strong thus far.
Of the players who started the game, Ryan Flaherty and Steve Clevenger both netted RBI, which gave the O’s a 2-0 lead. However Toronto chipped away, and tied the game at two on Munenori Kawasaki‘s RBI in the last of the ninth. You might remember Kawasaki, who won a few games for Toronto last season in walk off fashion (one against the Orioles) and became noted for his celebrations. Nevertheless, the O’s had a bases-loaded situation in the last of the ninth yesterday, however Xavier Paul gunned the would-be winning run down at the plate to preserve the tie.
Most spring training games are allowed to go into the 10th inning if they’re tied (depending upon how many players the visiting team had brought with them). This one was no exception, and Daniel Alvarez gave the O’s a quick lead with a solo homer. At that point it was merely a matter of getting three outs, however Toronto had other ideas and were able to push two runs across in the last of the tenth to defeat the Orioles by the aforementioned 4-3 score.
Again, the big takeaway here is Miguel Gonzalez’s performance. We’ve seen in the past that Gonzalez can be a workhorse, which bodes well for the Oriole team if he’s stuck smack in the middle of the rotation. Adam Jones also made the trip from Sarasota, and got his first action in a week after returning from the birth of his son last week. Jones, who’s only hitting .125 for the spring, went 1-for-2 with a walk. So should Orioles fans worry about Jones with only two weeks left in spring training? I would say no, given the fact that he progressed slowly during Grapefruit League play last season as well. Plus I’ve seen him working the count much more this spring than in the past, which is a good sign. If he can lay off the low sliders, he’ll see much better pitching since he’s going to have more support around him this season (with Nelson Cruz).
The Orioles are scheduled to take on Minnesota tonight in Sarasota at 7 PM, however it’s unclear whether or not the game will be played due to weather in the area. Ubaldo Jimenez was scheduled to start, however he’s been sent to pitch the minor league game in Ft. Myers so as to hopefully get him another start (in an area where the weather is expected to be favorable). If the game is played, Steve Johnson will get the start. Tomorrow is the Orioles’ lone scheduled off day of the spring.