Baltimore Orioles: Nestor Cortes shines in victory over Tampa

Unfortunately for the Baltimore Orioles, they don’t play the Tampa Rays everyday in the Florida Grapefruit League. The Birds are now 2-1 against Tampa (2-0 on the road against Tampa), and winless against the rest of the field. Rule 5 pitcher Nestor Cortes got another start this afternoon, and was fairly impressive. Cortes’ line: 2.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 3 K.

The Orioles took an early 1-0 lead on a sac fly-RBI by Pedro Alvarez in the first inning. That gave Cortes the lead before he even took the field. Cortes surrendered the lead almost immediately on a solo homer by Sucre, but he limited the damage. As we know, solo home runs don’t beat you.

Buck Showalter said after the game that he’s viewing Cortes as a starter, which isn’t overly surprising (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):

…he’s going to tell you anything you want to hear right now, so you’ve got to be careful, but those are things you look for. Right now, we’re looking at him as a starter.

People love to criticize how aggressive the Orioles are annually in the Rule 5 draft. However the fact is that if you’re picked up by the Orioles in that manner you know that you’re going to get a chance to compete for a job at the big league level. Cortes is trying to make the most of his opportunity.

The O’s took the lead back in the sixth on Mountcastle’s RBI-double, however after a Tampa RBI-triple in the last of that sixth inning it was tied back up at two. However one inning later the “Baby Birds” worked some counts and loaded the bases. DJ Stewart drew a walk, and suddenly the O’s led 3-2. A wild pitch and a sac fly later, and the Orioles had a solid 5-2 victory on their hands in Port Charlotte.

Again, you can’t take results of these games seriously. Now with that said from a player’s perspective if you’re on the field wearing a uniform and competing you feel a lot better about yourself if you win than you do if you lose. The Orioles also announced before the game that first baseman Chris Davis has been bothered by soreness in his forearm, which is why he served as the designated hitter in Wednesday’s game.

We also saw in that seventh inning that things can happen when you load the bases. Sure they drew one run on a walk and another on a sac fly, but the Tampa pitcher also uncorked a wild pitch. Those things can happen when you put people on base. It puts more pressure on the pitcher and sometimes you catch a break like that.

The O’s return to Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota tomorrow for an afternoon matinee against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Dylan Bundy gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Pittsburgh’s Tyler Glasnow. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

2 Comments

Nestor Cortes is looking like the real deal. He knows how to pitch, not just throw. Anxious to see how the rest of Spring Training plays out.

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I would agree. It wouldn’t surprise me if he starts out in the bullpen and is made a starter early on. They only need four starters the first week, so that would still get him on the roster and give the bullpen some additional support in the first few games. Get him into a game in what amounts to a side session, and then throw him in the rotation. However he still has to earn it throughout camp. As I said, if you’re taken in the Rule 5 draft by the Orioles you know you’re going to get a legit shot. But you have to prove yourself throughout camp. Thus far he has. Thanks for reading!

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