The Baltimore Orioles has to use Tom Eschelman as a spot starter tonight in their exhibition opener in Philadelphia. Keep in mind, Eschelman appeared in ten games for the Birds last year, and had an ERA north of six. Tonight was a different story; he “mowed ‘me down.” Eschelman’s line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K.
Whatever we’re calling this, Spring Training or Summer Camp, it was an exhibition game. So it’s tough to decipher how this translates to a regular season game for Eschelman. However he kept a pretty decent lineup at bay for five innings. In a game he didn’t know he was starting until a day before.
Pedro Severino got the scoring started in the game with a solo homer in the second inning. Hanser Alberto added on in the top of the fourth with an RBI-single. The Orioles were off to a 2-0 lead in front of one of the nicest crowds in Philadelphia sports histories. There was also nobody in the stands. See what I did there?!
Philadelphia attempted a rally in the seventh with a Harper RBI-single, but the Orioles’ pen shut the door. Cedric Mullins smacked a solo homer in the eighth, giving the O’s their two-run lead back. Pat Valaika added a solo shot of his own in the ninth, and the O’s took home a 4-1 exhibition victory.
But was the final score really 4-1? Because when the game ended it turned out that there were a few guys who were scheduled to get work tonight, so the teams went to a very strange tenth inning; even in spring training, I’ve never seen a tenth inning when one team was ahead.
And it worked out for the O’s, as Ryan Mountcastle smacked a solo home run. The game ended after 9 1/2 innings. Again, somewhat strange.
But this win potentially came at a cost. Mullins was in the game because Austin Hays was drilled in the knee by a pitch. He exited, and is considered day-to-day. Earlier in the game Stevie Wilkerson was lifted after appearing to injure himself sliding to make a catch. You hate to see this anytime, but especially in games that don’t count. The status of both players for the regular season is unclear.
The win puts the Birds at 10-7 in spring training. They were 9-7 when everything stopped, and the records just pick up where they left off. It’s worth mentioning that the Orioles were having a good camp when things shut down. They appeared to pick right up where they left off tonight.
The O’s now head home for their lone exhibition game at Camden Yards, tomorrow night against Washington. Alex Cobb gets the start for the Birds, and Washington is yet to announce a starter. Game time is set for just after 6 PM.