Mike Wright Jr. got the starting assignment this evening as the Baltimore Orioles began the second half of the Grapefruit League schedule, in Tampa against the New York Yankees. Wright surrendered a couple of early runs, and ended up leaving the game earlier than expected due to an elevated pitch count. (This due to Wright going deep into a few counts, and a few prolonged at-bats due to fouls.) Wright’s line: 2.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 K.
Cedric Mullins got the game started by drawing a walk. He went to second on a sac fly, stole third, and then took home plate on an errant throw. This illustrates what I’ve been saying in that sometimes if you have traffic on the base paths and/or speed, sometimes you end up making things happen. Mullins put the pressure on New York in that instance, and without even recording a hit the Orioles were rewarded with a run.
New York would take a brief lead on Judge’s two-run homer in the last of the first. However again, part of the Orioles’ game plan this year is going to be to get guys on base. Stevie Wilkerson would do just that in the top of the second, by bunting against the shift to third base. I’m not sure why more guys don’t try to do that, but it certainly looks good on a guy like Wilkerson who’s trying to make the team.
That began a big inning for O’s. Eric Young Jr. would tie the game with an RBI-single, and later in the inning the Birds would load the bases. Eric Young Jr. then came to the plate and gave the Orioles a big lead at 5-2 with a bases-clearing double. Again, get guys on base and things can happen. And make no mistake that the Orioles’ brass noticed that it began with a guy hitting against the shift.
Hays would later score on Chris Davis‘ RBI-single, giving the O’s a 6-2 lead. That was only Davis’ second hit of the spring, the other being a home run. New York would close to within 6-4 in the fourth on Gardener’s two-run homer. That came on the heels of an E6 by Martin, which allowed a base runner. As important as it is to get guys on base, it’s equally important to keep the other guys off base. Errors will happen, however to goal is to minimize them.
New York would close to within 6-5 in the fifth on an RBI-single by Bird. However Austin Hays would continue his impressive spring in the seventh with a solo homer, extending the Orioles’ lead back to two runs at 7-5. New York would add a solo homer in the eighth as well as tie the game at seven on a walk with the bases loaded, and they’d take an 8-7 lead on a sac fly-RBI – sending the Orioles home with a loss.
Those three eight inning runs were given up by Mychal Givens, who’s having a bit of a rough spring. Is that something that’s of concern to Brandon Hyde and company? To this point the skipper’s said that he isn’t foreseeing an issue with Givens (a potential closer candidate going into camp). Obviously, Givens has been around and for the most part we know what he can do. However while this is still spring training, his three runs surrendered did cost the O’s the game tonight. That’s the sort of thing that needs to be avoided.
For what it’s worth, next week is the last full week of camp, and thus of the Grapefruit League “season.” Mark Trumbo is expected to make his spring debut in tomorrow’s game. The hope is that gives him enough time and enough at-bats to get ready for the regular season.
The Orioles return to Ed Smith Stadium tomorrow as Toronto comes to Sarasota. Andrew Cashner gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Marcus Stroman. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.