The Baltimore Orioles took it on the chin at Ed Smith Stadium this afternoon, however it’s tough to say whether starter Mike Wright Jr’s good outing or first baseman Chris Davis‘ two-run homer was a bigger deal. The Birds gave up ten runs in the eighth inning, but that’s beside the point – especially when the guys in the game pitching probably aren’t going to be on the roster come Opening Day. But the good news is that Mike Wright, who is trying to make the roster, looked good as a starter. Wright’s line: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K.
The Orioles got on the board first on a wild pitch in the second inning. Steve Wilkerson would add a sac fly-RBI, and the Birds led 2-0. Lowe’s RBI-single in the fifth for Tampa would cut that lead to 2-1.
However as I said the other big story was Chris Davis. After Tampa got on the board, he responded with a two-run homer in the last of that fifth inning to run the Orioles’ lead to 4-1. We’ve heard a lot about how Davis has changed his approach at the plate and how the hope is that things will be different this year. He was 1-for-3 on the afternoon with two RBI on that two-run homer – so yes maybe something is a little different.
However even Tampa’s reserves showed the same moxie that their regular team seemed to show all of last year – anything you can do I can do better. They simply weren’t going to be denied Tampa’s first victory on the spring this afternoon. As I said above, they managed to put ten runs on the board in the eighth. The inning kind of snowballed, in a similar manner that we saw occur in 2018.
Again however, nobody in the game for either side at that time is expected to break camp with the big league club. (Although Tampa sure had some guys who looked hungry in that eighth inning.) So Orioles fans should not view this as here we go again. Just take it as a very bad inning at the tail end of an early spring game. Basically, take it at face value.
Anthony Santander smacked an RBI-single in the last of the eighth to cut the lead to 11-5. However after that the rains came…and by rains I mean a torrential downpour. The game was called at that point, with Tampa being awarded an 11-5 victory.
Incidentally however about that Santander RBI-single; it was set up by the previous at-bat in which Ryan Mountcastle stretched a single into a double. Those are the small things that you have to take away from these spring games, win or lose. The play was right in front of Mountcastle, and he saw he had a shot at second base. The new regime wants the Birds to be more aggressive on the base paths, which is exactly what Mountcastle did. These are the small things which don’t show up in the box score which help you win games.
Again, the takeaways from this one should be Mike Wright’s outing, and Chris Davis’ home run. Those are both very positive signs for the Orioles, who in reality shouldn’t feel too badly about this game. And the fact is that sometimes you just have to tip your cap to the other side – something the O’s did a lot last year. But again if you take anything away from this one, let it be Wright and/or Davis.
The O’s head back to Ft. Myers tomorrow, this time to take on division rival Boston at Jet Blue Park. Gabriel Ynoa takes to the bump for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s Eduardo Rodriguez. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.