Baltimore Orioles fall in Grapefruit League opener


Needless to say, yesterday’s 15-0 loss to Detroit didn’t count towards the season record for the Baltimore Orioles. In fact, very few presumed regulars were on the field at all. However anytime you play a game, you’re trying to win – something that the Orioles have now officially not yet done in Grapefruit League play.

The only real concern with regard to the regular season was Ubaldo Jimenez, who didn’t make it out of the second inning. Jimenez’s line: 1.1 IP, 2 H, 6 R ( 5 earned), 2 BB, 2 K. The first inning was fairly promising for Jimenez, who walked one and struck out two. However Jordan Lennerton‘s RBI-single in the second gave Detroit a 1-0 lead, and that lead went to 2-0 on a wild pitch by Jimenez that scored a run. Following a Rajai Davis two-RBI single, the O’s found themselves in a 4-0 hole – which ran to 7-0 following an Ian Kinsler three-run homer.

Courtesy of David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

And that marked the end of the day for Jimenez, as Buck Showalter came out of the dugout to get him after recording an out in the second. It’s rare that a pitcher is removed in that fashion from a spring training game, which drives home the fact that Jimenez didn’t have the best stuff of his career. However it would be unfair to look at that second inning as the entirety of his outing, as the first inning was solid for the most part.

And the fact is that Detroit bats were just keyed in yesterday, as Yoenis Cespedes hit a grand slam in the fourth to run the score to 11-0. An Anthony Gose RBI-triple put the O’s down 12-0, and Aaron Westlake‘s three-run shot in the last of the sixth rounded out the scoring for Detroit. Julio Borbon of the Orioles got the O’s on the board with an RBI-double in the ninth, and Henry Urrutia added an RBI-single to run the final to 15-2.

However the real concerning aspect of the game will be remembered as Jimenez. After the game he told MASN’s Roch Kubatko:

"“…If you see the scoreboard you’re probably like ‘Oh he was (bad)’ but I wasn’t. I felt like I had good control of the fastball…”"

Admittedly there were probably a few pitches where Jimenez got squeezed in the first inning. However given the season he had last year, Jimenez really needs to focus on having a strong spring. However let’s also look at this in a fair manner; it was the first outing of the spring, and this will be far from Jimenez’s only start before the bullets fly for real. The good news is that that O’s now have some video of him in a real game that they can dissect and hopefully help him to remedy his problems.

And also keep in mind that Jimenez had nothing to do with the one run that was on the board offensively from Oriole bats. Again, fans should keep in mind that the only Oriole regular that played in the field yesterday was Jonathan Schoop. However you never want to get blown out by 13 runs – even in games that don’t count. The Orioles’ home opener is tomorrow afternoon at 1 PM; they’ll take on these same Detroit Tigers at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota. Fans can tune into 105.7 WJZ “the fan.” Kevin Gausman will be on the bump for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Detroit’s Anibal Sanchez.