Baltimore Orioles: Andrew Cashner solid in debut as Birds beat Philadelphia

Baltimore Orioles fans got a look for the first time this evening at the team’s biggest off season acquisition, Andrew Cashner. And Cashner didn’t disappoint, as he became the first Orioles pitcher this spring to go further than three innings into a game as a starter. Cashner’s line: 4.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 2 K.

Cashner retired seven hitters on ground balls, which he said after his outing was part of what he was trying to do (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):

I think part of my game plan is to pitch up with my fastball. High sinkers are really hard to hit, but I think It’s keeping the ball down, getting my strikes early and then trying to finish them up late is definitely kind of the game plan.

Cashner would go onto say that he felt he could have executed some of his pitches better, however the outing itself and the numbers indicate otherwise. However it’s good to see that he can offer constructive criticism on himself if he feels it’s necessary. As gritty as a spring outing can be, this was a gritty outing on Cashner’s part.

The tone for the game was set in the top of the second when Philadelphia had one on and nobody out. Altherr sent a deep pop fly near the right field foul line, and Craig Gentry slid and caught it. That in and of itself was a great play and a great effort, but Gentry was also able to throw the ball back in and double the runner off of first base. It’s defensive plays as such which stand out to the coaching staff.

The teams played to a scoreless tie into the fifth inning, when Austin Hays‘ RBI-single broke the tie and gave the Birds a 1-0 lead. Hays would later find himself being plated as Caleb Joseph smacked a home run to left field. This wasn’t a wind-aided, “Florida-type” of homer. It was a no-doubter, and the outfield barely moved. If Joseph’s bat can get going, the Orioles will find themselves in really good shape this year.

Anthony Santander would smack an RBI-single up the middle in the last of the seventh for an insurance run, and the Birds cruised past Philadelphia, 4-0. In terms of winning and losing the game, that insurance run was important. However it’s also important from the perspective of the fact that four runs in a game is a magic number of sorts. The odds of victory go up dramatically if you get four plus runs in a game.

This was a split squad day for the Orioles, with the B-Team having defeated Boston earlier in the day in Fort Myers. Hunter Harvey pitched three innings, surrendering two runs. Ryan Mountcastle also smacked a homer in the ninth inning. By virtue of sweeping the split squad day, the Orioles are now 9-8 on the spring – for those who care about records.

The Orioles will head over to Bradenton tomorrow to take on Pittsburgh. Dylan Bundy gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Pittsburgh’s Tyler Glasnow. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

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