Following the Baltimore Orioles’ “B team” defeating Tampa 17-15 earlier in the day, the “A team” took on New York under the lights at Ed Smith Stadium. And before us we see the stretching out of David Hess, who drew the starting assignment, and could be penciled in as a back end starter for the Birds at this point. Hess’ line: 3.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 3 K.
Despite the two runs surrendered, Hess looked good. His fastball had good zip and his breaking pitches were dropping in for strikes. The idea was for Hess to pitch four full innings, however he was lifted early due to an elevated pitch count. Hess on his outing (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):
I think there were some good things to take away from it. Anytime you lead off the game with a double like that and limit it to one run, that’s a good way to go about that. But I think there were a lot of positives to build off and some things to work on, as well.
New York got on the board immediately in the first inning with a sac fly-RBI by Sanchez. That came after the runner took third base on a medium depth pop fly – just a reminder to the O’s that teams are going to keep the pressure up, even in these spring games. Bird’s RBI-single in the fourth inning closed the book on Hess, and gave New York a 2-0 lead.
Richard Bleier pitched the fifth inning for the O’s, his first game action since injuring his lat last season. The big news is that he got into a game. However he probably deserved a better fate, as NY out three runs up against him. However one came on a throwing error, which also allowed the runner to go to second base. The second came on a subsequent RBI-double, and the third came on a bizarre play in which the ball bounced off home plate, and through the wickets of two Oriole infielders into left field for an RBI-single.
This left the O’s trailing 5-0, with the eventual final being 6-1 (in favor of New York) after an Aguilar solo homer in the ninth. The Birds would eventually get on the board with a solo homer in the last of the ninth by J.C. Escarra.
Regarding Richard Bleier, the stat line could obviously be better. But again the win for Bleier and for the organization was that he got into the game at all. And he pitched much better than the numbers indicate. It just shows how fickle stats themselves can be (especially in the spring) as a pitcher, as you’re only as good as the defense behind you at times.
The home standing Orioles will remain at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota tomorrow afternoon as the Philadelphia Phillies come to town. Josh Rogers gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Philadelphia’s Aaron Nola. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.