Starter Wei-Yin Chen wasn’t able to make it out of the fourth inning in yesterday’s Baltimore Orioles loss, 7-4 at the hands of the Tampa Rays in Sarasota. Chen’s line: 3.2 IP, 10 H, 6 R, 0 BB, 5 K. Perhaps the tone for the game was set when Wil Myers hit the second pitch out of the ballpark. However even though Chen’s ERA ballooned to 6.39 for the spring, the five strikeouts were certainly noteworthy. Suk-min Yoon, who was reassigned to triple-A Norfolk after the game, pitched two innings and gave up a solo homer, and Eric Meek pitched an inning without allowing a hit or a run. As for Chen, while that’s not exactly the type of start you ever want (in a Grapefruit League or regular season game), it’s also something to build on.
Offensively for the Orioles we saw a lot of promise out of the bats. While Adam Jones was 2-for-16 coming into the game (for the spring), he played by far his best game to date thus far. Jones reached on an error in the last of the first, and that in and of itself seemed to get his bat on track. However it’s what he did after getting on base that impressed the most. Jones went to steal second base with Chris Davis at the plate, and in doing so noticed that nobody was covering third – so he took third base as well. Often times guys are so intent with getting to second without getting thrown out that they fail to notice things as such.
This all starts with manager Buck Showalter, who’s legendarily noted for paying such close attention to detail. And that’s started to trickle down to Jones and the rest of the team. Jones would later score on Chris Davis’ RBI-double; odds are he would have scored from second on the play anyways, however you get the point. Often times, especially in a division as competitive as the AL East, small details such as base running (and smart base running at that) can make the difference between winning and losing.
Jones would later score on Chris Davis’ RBI-double, and as I said above he also homered in the game. Again folks, wins and losses aren’t the point here; although, I suspect that we’ll see a bit more emphasis on how the games are unfolding on a situational basis. So with that said it was good to see Nolan Reimold come through with an 11th hour ninth inning RBI-single yesterday. Reimold is currently in a stiff competition for the left field platoon, along with the likes of David Lough, Francisco Peugero, and even Nelson Cruz. Obviously Cruz will be the primary DH, but knowing that he can also play the outfield is a great luxury for the O’s.
The Orioles will travel to Bradenton, FL tonight to take on the Pittsburgh Pirates at 7 PM. I also hosted a very impromptu and very truncated version of the Birds Watcher Show this morning, available by clicking here. After yesterday’s game the Orioles optioned Suk-min Yoon and catcher Johnny Monell to triple-A Norfolk. Showalter hasn’t committed to Steve Clevenger as the backup catcher, but I suppose given the fact that Monell is headed to Norfolk one could assume he has the job by default.