Baltimore Orioles: Present and future look bright


A win or a loss at any level of any sport is a team effort, and the Baltimore Orioles proved that once again in their 10-2 win over New York in Tampa. Up and down the lineup, just about everyone played a role. It was an exciting day from the get go, as the Orioles gave last year’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year, Tyler Wilson his first spring start yesterday. Wilson’s line: 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K. It’s tough to get much better than that, even in a start that only lasted four innings. Wilson on pitching against New York (via Roch Kubatko of MASNsports:

"Warming up in the bullpen and they’re announcing the lineup and it’s one multi-year All-Star after another, it was pretty cool. But as soon as you pick the ball up on the mound in the game, it’s time to get to business and simplify everything and control what I can as opposed to worrying about who was in the box."

The Orioles took a 2-0 lead in the second on a Ryan Flaherty sac fly-RBI, and an RBI-single by Jonathan Schoop – who had a big day of his own. Later in the inning that lead ballooned to 5-0, as Alejandro De Aza smacked a three-run home run and the O’s had a 5-0 lead. An inning later, Steve Clevenger would add a sac fly-RBI of his own giving the Orioles a 6-0 lead.

New York showed signs of life in the last of the fifth as Steven Drew hit a solo home run. However other than that (along with an seventh inning solo shot by Alex Rodriguez), Oriole pitching shut the Bronx Bombers down. De Aza would add another run in the sixth with a sac fly-RBI in the wake of ARod’s homer, showing that the Orioles had no urge to allow their AL East rivals back into the game.

However the Birds weren’t done quite yet at that point. Jonathan Schoop’s two-

Photo: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

RBI double in the eighth put them ahead 9-2, and Jimmy Paredes added his cap to the day with a solo shot of his own in the ninth to run the final to 10-2. Paredes is an interesting case that has to be giving Buck Showalter fits. Defense isn’t his strong suit, and in fact he’s made five errors already this spring. However his bat has shown a lot of pop, and he’s probably battled his way into the “serious discussion” of who should be on the roster.

And quite frankly, that’s why these late spring games are so important. The regulars are about fed up with the “fake baseball,’, and it’s always tough to keep some guys engaged. However to a guy like Paredes he could very well play his way onto the team in these last few exhibition games.

It goes without saying that the Orioles’ “present” is in good shape. However in Tyler Wilson we also saw perhaps a glimpse of the future. The fact that Showalter is giving someone like Wilson a start in a late spring game like this tells me that his rotation is already set. (Especially seeing that he’s said he’ll be staying away from actual starters in games against division teams.) But between the likes of Wilson, Paredes, and perhaps even Schoop (who only has one big league season under his belt), we perhaps saw a flash of the future in Birdland.

The Orioles did get one bit of troubling news yesterday in that J.J. Hardy will be getting an MRA scan on his shoulder, which he injured while colliding with Jonathan Schoop in Friday’s game (which ended up being a rain out). Hardy has had shoulder issues in the past, however that was 10-11 years ago. Hardy at first wanted to stay in the game after it occured, however he was lifted in an abundance of caution. It’s something to watch for sure, however the Orioles are hoping that it’s nothing.

The Birds return to Sarasota for a game against Minnesota this afternoon. This will also be a split squad day for the O’s, and the “B Team” will be in Dunedin as Ubaldo Jimenez makes perhaps his final start of the spring (vs. Toronto). Miguel Gonzalez will be on the mound for the Birds in Sarasota, and he’ll be opposed by Ricky Nolasco.

The final week of spring games can at times be a bit of a whirlwind as teams try to close up camp and get ready for the season. The O’s will be play a quick home-and-home tomorrow and Tuesday with Tampa, and they’ll close out the spring with a couple of night games. Pittsburgh comes to Ed Smith Stadium on Wednesday night (7 PM), and the Orioles will then play three games in a row against the Atlanta Braves – and their new right fielder, Nick Markakis. Thursday’s game is at 6 PM in Orlando, Friday at 6 PM in Sarasota, and then Saturday at 3 PM back in Orlando. Friday evening’s game will be the Orioles’ final home game of spring training at Ed Smith Stadium.

Next: Baltimore Orioles: The beer's still cold!