Baltimore Orioles: Nestor Cortes impresses in tie with Minnesota

The Baltimore Orioles are looking to fill out their pitching staff in this year’s spring training, and if the few things they’ve seen thus far are any indication, they have options. This evening in Sarasota they got a look at Nestor Cortes, who retired six of seven hitters that he faced. Cortes’ line: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 0 K.

Cortes was taken in the Rule 5 draft from the New York Yankees, and after his outing he said he felt good out there (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):

Yes, I think I attacked the strike zone real well, commanded all my pitches. Just one mistake pitch left out over the plate, good contact. That was it.

Whether or not Cortes ends up in the rotation remains to be seen. But the O’s also got good performances virtually out of everyone they threw into the game this evening. Alec Asher pitched two innings and struck out four. Minnesota scored their lone run in the second on a sac fly-RBI by Petit.

In terms of wins and losses (if you’re into that type of thing as far as spring training games go), the Orioles had their chances. They left the bases loaded in the fifth, sixth, and eighth. If this were a regular season game, I’d talk about how that’s something that needs to change. And the fact is that it is. However you can stomach that a bit given the fact that this is really only the second game – technically the third, but it was the second game so far as the regulars go.

You can’t strand runners on base in games. However as I’ve said ad hoc the past two days, hitters are still behind pitchers. Sometimes it takes players ten or twelve real at-bats before their timing comes back.

The Birds trailed for much of the night, however Austin Wynns‘ three-run homer in the last of the seventh tied the game at one. The Birds also threatened in the last of the ninth, but couldn’t push the winning run across. The managers had already gotten together and had decided that the game would end after nine innings. So it ends in a tie, leaving the Birds still searching for their first spring victory.

The Orioles’ “B-team” lost earlier in the day in Clearwater to Philadelphia – this was a split squad day for the Birds. Dylan Bundy was smacked around in the limited action he saw. Bundy’s line: 2.0 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 3 BB, 0 K. That’s not exactly how the Orioles saw Bundy’s first spring outing going, but that’s what these games are for; working through growing pains.

The Birds will hit the road tomorrow and head to Jet Blue Park in Fort Myers to take on Boston. Gabriel Ynoa will get the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s Brian Johnson. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

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