For the first time this spring we saw a Baltimore Orioles’ starter struggle in his truncated outing. Nate Karns started for the Orioles against Minnesota, with lackluster results. Karns’ line: 1.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 0 K.
Karns is healthy, which is more than could be said for him last year. However he hasn’t seen game action since last spring training. So it isn’t overly surprising that he struggled in his first action this spring today.
Karns loaded the bases in the last of the first, and Minnesota took a 2-0 lead on Buxton’s two-RBI double. The O’s tried to battle back in the second with a solo homer by Eric Young Jr. However Karns continued to struggle in the last of the second, giving up an RBI-single to Polanco. He was lifted in the middle of the inning – presumably after reaching his pitch count for the day. Karns on his outing and his objective on the afternoon:
Quote Courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports
Just getting out there doing what I do, pitching to what my strengths are. And trying to improve command, execution of my pitches, sequencing and at the same time competing out there on the mound. I feel like today I kind of came in like, I may not get the results that I wanted, but that’s not what we were focused on right now. That’s getting out there and trying to figure out where you’re at and then improve between starts and try to keep going in that direction until the season gets here
Buxton would also add an RBI-single in the third to run the Minnesota lead to 4-1. One inning later it was 5-1 after a sac fly-RBI by Castro (on a foul pop). The last of the fifth brought some elevated excitement for Orioles fans, as we got a look at Hunter Harvey for the first time in about a year or so. Harvey’s velocity was good, and to be honest his appearance was mostly about just getting back out there in game action. However he surrendered a two-run homer to Buxton, extending Minnesota’s lead to 7-1.
When you look at the results turned in by Karns and Harvey, they’re certainly a tough sell. But keep in mind that these guys’ outings had more to do with them just getting out there in live game action than anything else. Odds are there weren’t any mechanical problems that can’t be tweaked or fixed. And that’s part of what these spring games are meant to do.
Obviously when you put on a uniform you’re playing to win. So that part of the day is disappointing. But the fact that Karns and Harvey got into the game is the story of the day. And a good story at that. The game results might not always be what fans want to see, but there are a lot more in-game stories in these games as opposed to just a win or a loss.
The Orioles return to Ed Smith Stadium tomorrow afternoon as the Tampa Rays come to town. Mike Wright Jr. gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Ryan Merritt. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.