Kyle Gibson was on the bump this afternoon for the Baltimore Orioles in Sarasota against Pittsburgh. Once again, we saw a strong outing, albeit for a limited number of innings, by a presumed Oriole starter. As far as spring games go, that is. Gibson’s line: 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, ) BB, 2 K.
Pittsburgh got on the board after Gibson had been sent to the showers with an RBI-single by Joe. However come the bottom of the inning, the Birds took the lead and never looked back. Austin Hays smacked a three-run homer, and the O’s led, 3-1. You can file that under that escalated quickly.
One inning later, the game was busted wide open. Ryan Mountcastle came up with the bases juiced, and prompted hit a ball a long way over the walls at Ed Smith Stadium. As they say, that’s one way to clear the bases. That gave the O’s a 7-1 lead. Pittsburgh would tack on three additional runs late, and the Birds went home 7-4 winners.
Going back to that fifth inning grand slam by Mountcastle for a moment; I talk a lot about attention to detail. In this case, the opponent’s lack of attention to detail benefited the O’s. The Birds had two runners on, and a runner was allowed to reach base (to load them up) on a fielding error. In general, an error doesn’t have to be fatal. Guys pitch or work out of jams all the time – right?
They obviously do. However the fact remains that guys making mistakes like that can extend innings at worst, and just add base runners at best. In this case it loaded the bases. And Ryan Mountcastle made Pittsburgh pay for it. Nothing’s more costly than a grand slam.
In this case it was the Orioles benefitting off of an opponent’s mistake. However that should serve as a lesson to the Orioles as well – you have to tidy up your defense. If you don’t make mistakes like that in games, the other team can’t take advantage. The Orioles might well have still scored a bunch of runs that inning, mind you. But you can’t give the opponent extra outs and extra base runners.
Tomorrow the O’s head to BayCare Ballpark in Clearwater to take on Philadelphia. Tyler Wells gets the start for the Birds, and Philadelphia’s yet to announce a starter. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.