Baltimore Orioles fall but improve
At the end of the day, another loss is another loss for the Baltimore Orioles – this time 4-2 in Bradenton against Pittsburgh. However speaking for myself, I saw some moderate improvements from the Birds. First off as always let’s start with pitching. Wei-Yin Chen pitched into the fourth inning, with mixed results. Chen’s line: 3.1 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 2 K.
Chen allowed a an RBI-double by Neil Walker in the last of the first, and an RBI-single by Tony Sanchez in the last of the fourth. He pitched his way into trouble in the second, loading the bases. I’ve said on numerous occasions that pitchers will find themselves in trouble over time. However the mark of a decent pitcher is one who can pitch out of that trouble when it comes. Chen did that, and retired the side with no damage done after loading the bases.
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Yesterday’s game marked the first time that there appeared to be a sizable veteran presence for the Baltimore Orioles for a road game. And that might well have sparked the offense in a sense. It’s tough to argue that the offense broke out in a game where they only put two runs on the board. However Steve Pearce
Courtesy of Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
managed to tie the game with a two-run homer in the sixth inning which tied the game.
Pittsburgh would put two runs across in the last of the eighth to give them a 4-2 lead, and ultimately a victory over the Birds. The Orioles could have avoided those two runs, however Evereth Cabrera bobbled a ground ball that probably would have been a double play. Cabrera has not had the best spring thus far in the field. Having said that, it’s small details as such that a manager like Buck Showalter will look to in a game. However fans should also bear in mind that we’re only just barely at the midpoint of Grapefruit League play. Things can certainly improve.
The game was also highlighted by a few sparkling plays defensively in the field for the Birds, including a diving catch by Julio Borbon in center, and Manny Machado fielding a bunt on the fly and doubling up a runner at first base. Again, it’s details such as these which register in Showalter’s mind. Obviously there’s no decision that needs to be made on Manny Machado per se, but I digress.
The Orioles also got some positive news in that they announced that Matt Wieters will make his spring debut behind the plate on Tuesday in Sarasota against Minnesota. Wieters of course is in an 0-for-20 slump at the plate, however he’s yet to debut behind the dish. He caught today in the “B game” at Ed Smith Stadium and collected a hit, however that doesn’t count towards Grapefruit League stats. Call it an “unofficial, unofficial hit.” Wieters told MASNsports‘ Steve Melewski:
"Excited to get back out there with a crowd. It is what I enjoy doing. Fun to get back behind the plate and be playing with the guys."
The Orioles said from the beginning that March 17th would be the target date for Wieters’ return, so this is good news. Furthermore if the O’s can get Wieters’ bat on track, both they and Matt Wieters will be in even better shape.