Jonathan Schoop should be worried about what happens when the Baltimore Orioles break camp next week. The O’s finish up Grapefruit League play on Sunday afternoon, make a pit stop in Norfolk to play the Tides (a game that does not count towards Grapefruit League standings – for what that’s worth), and then don’t play again until Opening Day at Camden Yards on Thursday. Schoop’s had a great spring; this evening he was 1-for-2 with his fourth home run of spring training. He’s hitting .405…in the games that don’t count.
So the challenge of course is for Schoop to bring that into the regular season. And that gap won’t help – but that’s the challenge of being a professional athlete. With the acquisition of Alex Cobb yesterday, a guy who’s now battling for a bullpen spot is this evening’s starter, Miguel Castro. And his hope is that he can convince the coaching staff that this evening’s results were simply a blip in the radar. Castro’s line: 3.0 IP, 5 H, 5 R (4 earned), 3 BB, 2 K.
Schoop’s aforementioned solo homer gave the O’s a 1-0 lead in the first inning. However that would be the only time during the game that they would lead. In the last of the first Gregorious’ two-RBI single gave New York a 2-1 lead. One inning later Bird would add a two-RBI single, and an additional run would score on an E5 to run the lead to 5-1. (For Castro’s sake and for the sake of clarity in scoring, that fifth run was unearned.)
The O’s would battle back just a bit, however. They’d get to within 5-2 on Danny Valencia‘s sac fly-RBI in the fourth, and Austin Hays would dump a bloop RBI-single in right field to but the lead to 5-3. However in the bottom of that fourth inning Judge would do what he does, and homer (with nobody on base). He would also homer again with two runners on in the last of the eighth. Sandwiched in between those Judge homers was a Luis Sardinas RBI-double. All of this ran the final to 9-4, in favor of New York.
Roger (McDowell) and I are going to sit down with him. He had a pretty whirlwind day today. Roger talked to him a little bit. But we’re going to sit down with him tomorrow and map out the schedule we’re thinking about and get his input and see what he thinks.
Word on the street is that he’ll head to extended spring training after the Birds break camp. From there he’ll accept an assignment to an affiliate so he can get into games. How long he’s in the minors remains to be seen. But the only reason for that is so he can get into game shape. He was signed as a big league pitcher – and that’s where he’ll be.
The Orioles return to Ed Smith Stadium tomorrow afternoon for their final turn at bat against the Boston Red Sox this spring. Mike Wright gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s Hector Velazquez. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.