Baltimore Orioles: Diaz, Sisco Homer Past Minnesota Twins

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 24: Chance Sisco #15 of the Baltimore Orioles celebrates with teammates after hitting a two-run home run in the sixth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 24, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 24: Chance Sisco #15 of the Baltimore Orioles celebrates with teammates after hitting a two-run home run in the sixth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 24, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images) /
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The first spring training game is in the books and the Baltimore Orioles are 1-0.

It may have been practice, but the Baltimore Orioles returned to the field on Saturday afternoon, defeating the Minnesota Twins by a score of 7-2.

The 2019 season isn’t going to be about the wins and losses, but seeing which young players on the roster step up and show they belong on this roster as Mike Elias and his staff create a winning ballclub. It was just one game, the first game, in a long month of spring training games, but the young kids showed up ready to play baseball.

Manager Brandon Hyde said before today’s contest to not read anything into the batting order, but leadoff man Cedric Mullins did exactly what a leadoff hitter needs to do. Mullins led off the game with a walk, stole second base, advanced to third on a wild throw, and later scored on a three-run home run by Chance Sisco. In his second at-bat, he ripped a double into left field, scoring his second run of the game on a Renato Nunez sac-fly in the bottom of the 3rd.

It may be a very long regular season, but Cedric Mullins should be a bright spot over the course of the season. He needs to show that he can hit left-handed pitching, but he will have the entire season to grow and work on this. He finished the afternoon 2-2 with two runs scored, a stolen base, and a walk.

Fellow outfielder Yusniel Diaz, the top prospect of the Baltimore Orioles, also made his presence known in his first spring training game with the O’s. The 22-year-old was penciled in as the DH, sending a changeup over the left field fence in his second at-bat of the afternoon. While he won’t make the Opening Day roster, Diaz won’t spend too much time in the minor leagues this season. He’s going to be one of the more fun storylines to follow this spring.

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As mentioned earlier, Chance Sisco took the first shot at the starting catching job, literally. Sisco turned on an inside pitch and drove it over the right-field fence at Ed Smith Stadium, putting the Orioles up 3-0 early. He walked in his second at-bat and scored twice on the afternoon. Not a bad way to start his run at earning the role of Opening Day catcher.

Baltimore Orioles pitching staff was fairly decent all afternoon.

It was a solid afternoon across the board for the Baltimore Orioles pitching staff. Nothing that stood out, just solid. Yefry Ramirez took the mound to kick things off, giving up one earned run on two hits, walking two, and striking out one in his two innings.

He struggled with his command a bit, but his 90-92 mph fastball showed good movement and his best pitch, his changeup, was working in the very few number of times he threw it. He’s in the mix to take a final rotation spot and could also land a gig as a long-reliever. Saturday was a good baseline performance to grow from.

Mike Wright also put in two innings, giving up three hits in his first inning of work before a quick, clean second inning. Wright is out of options and needs an impressive spring training if he wants to make the ballclub. Something clicked in June and July of last season and it’s that version of Mike Wright who needs to show up in Sarasota on a consistent basis.

A few more notes from around the horn.

More from Birds Watcher

  • Ryan Mountcastle made his first appearance at first base and made a great play, quickly moving to his right and flipping the ball to Drew Jackson to begin a double play.
  • Jackson made a few great plays on Saturday, showing off his strong arm and turning two double plays. There are a lot of middle infielders in camp and it is 25-man roster or bust for the Rule 5 pick, but he looked good on defense in his first action.
  • LHP Josh Rogers worked a clean 8th inning. He isn’t a high-velocity arm, topping out at 90 mph today, but relies on his command. The command held up well as he worked a strikeout produced harmless contact, outside of the one groundball that caught his shoe on a comebacker.

O's Add LHP To Bullpen Mix. dark. Next

The Orioles return to the field tomorrow against the Toronto Blue Jays. David Hess will get the start and his first opportunity to showcase his stuff for a rotation spot.