Baltimore Orioles defeat Atlanta

Asher Wojchiechowski made his maiden outing of the spring for the Baltimore Orioles this afternoon against Atlanta. And while the numbers themselves were mostly good, he did surrender a homer. But the pitch itself was a strike, which is what the Orioles would like to see here in the early spring. Woj’s line: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 2 K.

Wojchiechowski had dealt with a blister on his throwing hand, which put his spring in doubt at one point. However after leaving the game he seemed to indicate that today was a step forward:

Felt good. Focus was really just to throw strikes. First time out there you have that little self-doubt, when its been through the offseason. So, nice to go out there and execute pitches and just get back into the rhythm.

I made one mistake to d’Arnaud, first pitch of the second inning. I knew he was going to swing and just didn’t execute that pitch. But for the most part, just happy with how I felt. Looking to build upon each outing and get ready for the season

Quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports

The O’s got on the board early with Hanser Alberto scoring in the first inning on a passed ball. Dwight Smith Jr. would score from third later in the inning on a wild pitch. I said this a couple of times last season, but if you get guys on base you never really know what’s going to happen. A wild pitch with nobody on base isn’t really a wild pitch – kind of like a tree falling in the woods and nobody hearing it.

That’s something on which the Orioles should try to focus this year – getting guys on base. Sometimes that can spook pitchers at times. If that happens and someone’s on base when a mistake is made, you can luck your way into a run.

Wjochiechowski surrendered a homer to d’Arnaud one inning later, which was the only run he surrendered. However keep in mind also that you can live with pitchers surrendering solo home runs. Solo shots aren’t going to beat you. Especially early in the game. Baltimore native Bruce Zimmerman, who made his Orioles’ debut, surrendered a solo shot an inning later to Ball, which tied the game.

Dilson Herrera led off the fifth with a double, and he was later singled home by Ryan McKenna, giving the Birds the lead back at 3-2. McKenna would later score on another wild pitch by Atlanta pitching, running it to 4-2. Atlanta would notch an RBI-single in the sixth to get to within 4-3, but the Oriole ‘pen shut them down the rest of the way.

With the win, the Birds improved their record to 2-4 on the spring (keeping in mind that yesterday was a split squad day and that technically they lost twice). Both wins of course have come at home. Again folks, wins and losses don’t matter per se. But if you’re going to play these games, you might as well try to win them.

The O’s will stay in Sarasota tomorrow, ending a three-game/day “homestand” as Pittsburgh comes to town. Tommy Milone makes his first (spring) start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Pittsburgh’s Hector Noesi. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles win at Fenway behind Asher Wojchiekowski

When the Baltimore Orioles pocked up Asher Wojchiekowski this season on waivers, I figured that it was just one of those moves that teams make for depth. But to his credit Wojchiekowski proved to be a competitor. And a tough one at that. At the very least, he cemented his status as a potential starter going into spring training next year last night at Fenway Park. Wojchiekowski’s line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K.

GM Mike Elias has to feel good about picking up Wojchiekowski during this season. That isn’t to say that he’s guaranteed a starting role next year. However I think he’s won the right to compete for a starting job.

Renato Nunez smacked a three-run homer in the top of the third. It was a deep line drive-type shot, which barely made it over the green monster in left field. But it made it over, giving the O’s a 3-0 lead.

Nunez is a guy who may well fall into the same category as Wojchiekowski (although Nunez has been here all year). He’s exceeded expectations, and has earned the shot to compete for a starting job next year. And this is true of a lot of people.

Nunez would also smack an RBI-single in the ninth inning, and the Birds took the series opener, 4-0. Speaking of spring training, back in spring training 2019 I made note of the fact that the Birds seemed to tack on insurance runs in games here and there. That struck me at the time…

…mainly because it was something with which the 2018 Orioles struggled. Obviously there’s no stat out there which measures how often a team tacked on a late run with a lead, but it’s something that this year’s team would do from time to time – again, dating back to spring training. And at the time I remember writing that it wasn’t something that would be necessary every game (last night’s game, for example). However it was a good thing to do her me and there.

The series continues this afternoon at Fenway Park. John Means gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s Jhouly’s Chacin. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles upended by Tampa, rain

Asher Wojchiekowski was pitching a decent game last night for the Baltimore Orioles. However an hour and 45 minutes into last night’s games, the rains came. And in saying that I mean a torrential downpour. Two hours and 15 minutes later, the game resumed – with Wojchiekowski out of it. Starters usually don’t return after rain delays of that magnitude. Wojchiekowski’s line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 2 K.

The O’s took a 2-0 lead in the last of the first on Trey Mancini‘s RBI-double. However the double itself only attested for one of those runs. Mancini would come around to score on a two-base throwing error by Tampa.

However Tampa would chip away. Meadows smacked a solo homer in the third. Adames would follow suit in the fifth, tying the game. It’s important to note that the rain delay came during the last of the fifth with the game tied. If not for that second Tampa homer, the game would have been official. But since the game was tied, in essence it had to be completed. And it would be completed very late at night as a result.

Play resumed after 11 PM, and Tampa took the lead in the sixth on Adames’ two-RBI single. That seemed to break the game wide open in a sense. Oriole bats were seemingly quieted for the remainder of the night. Meadows would score in the ninth on a wild pitch, and the Birds dropped this one, 5-2.

Tampa’s in contention. The Orioles are not. So that’s one reason that they Birds were quiet offensively after the delay. However that’s compounded by the fact that they were sitting for almost three hours waiting to resume the game.

You can’t use that as an excuse, mind you. The conditions and the circumstance was the same for both teams. It’s unfortunate given that the rain knocked Wojchiekowski out of the game, and you just don’t know how it would have played out, but it can’t be an excuse. And given that Tampa’s in contention, this game could be important to them. Otherwise it probably would have been canceled and perhaps not made up.

The series continues this evening at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Ty Blach gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Trevor Richards. GMe time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Asher Wojchiekowski strong in win

Asher Wojchiekowski turned in his second strong outing in as many last night for the Baltimore Orioles. It was also his second win in as many outings, and the Orioles’ second consecutive win. Wojciechowski’s line: 7.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 6 K.

The Birds took an early 1-0 lead on a sac fly-RBI by Anthony Santander. And that came in the wake of a hit batsman, a stolen base, and an additional sacrifice to get the runner to third. A true “team run.”

The second inning however effectively ended the game. Or at least the competitive portion thereof. Stevie Wilkerson added to the Orioles’ lead with an RBI-groundout. The aforementioned Santander added a two-RBI single, leaving runners on base. But they were soon brought home by Renato Nunez when he smacked a three-run home run.

That second inning left the O’s with a 7-0 lead. That’s tough to overcome, however the saving grace for Anaheim was that it was early in the game. But the fact is that Wojciechowski and the Orioles’ bullpen wasn’t allowing a comeback on this night. They took the lead and ran with it, despite Anaheim netting two runs on Thaiss’ two-run homer in the last of the fifth.

The teams would swap homers in the ninth as well. Trey Mancini for the Orioles (of the two-run variety), and Upton’s solo homer for Anaheim. But when you’re ahead big and it’s the ninth inning, you don’t sweat a solo homer. The O’s ended up 9-3 winners on this Friday night in Anaheim, their second consecutive win.

Incidentally, the Orioles only used two relievers in the game. Wojciechowski’s strong outing did a huge favor for the tired Orioles’ bullpen, which pitched a 16-inning game on Thursday. Nobody would have blamed the Orioles for losing this game had they done so after Thursday’s marathon. But they took the bull by the horns and went out and won them the game. That type of grit shouldn’t be lost on fans.

The series continues tonight at Angel Stadium. Aaron Brooks gets the start for the O’s, and Anaheim is yet to announce a starter. Game time is set for just after 9 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Asher Wojciechowski makes no-hit bid in win

Asher Wojchiekowski turner in perhaps the best pitching performance for the Baltimore Orioles this year. Wojchiekowski took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning before Boston finally got their first hit of the game this afternoon, this under sweltering conditions at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Wojciechowski’s line: 7.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 10 K.

Despite the heat and despite Boston’s outstanding lineup, Wojciechowski thrived on this Sunday afternoon. In fact, Orioles’ pitching as a whole thrived. The lone seventh inning hit surrendered by Wojchiekowski was the only hit the O’s gave up all game. When Brandon Hyde went out to get him (Wojciechowski), he applauded along with the fans.

And the best news is that Oriole bats didn’t waste the effort by the pitching staff. Trey Mancini smacked a solo homer in the first inning, and the Birds were off to the races. One inning later Chris Davis‘ RBI-double gave the O’s a 2-0 lead.

Davis was starting to get on base more frequently as the all-star break hit. He struggled a bit after the break, but is now slowly working his average up again. Is it possible that Davis could have a semi-respectable second half? What would that look like, and how could it positively impact the O’s?

Mancini came around again in the order in the third, and smacked his second home run of the game. This one of the two-run variety. That put the Birds up 4-0, a lead that got an insurance run when Jonathan Villar hit a solo homer in the eighth.

And it’s a good thing they did. Boston put Betts on base in the ninth inning against Mychal Givens, who felt that the strike zone suddenly got smaller in the ninth. In a situation as such (up five or more runs in the ninth), teams generally don’t hold runners on base. The idea of course being that a team isn’t going to attempt to steal down that much that late.

However Betts decided to steal second base. Given that Givens and the Orioles weren’t ready for that, he took second base. That put the O’s on notice that Boston wasn’t looking to go quietly into the night – unwritten codes be damned. How it looks scrimping and fighting for getting one run into scoring position down that many in the last inning is another story. But they made the Orioles work to get out of the inning and get the win. And they did.

The Birds now head to Arizona for a three-game interleague set against former Oriole Adam Jones. Aaron Brooks gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Arizona’s Robbie Ray. Game time is set for just after 9:30 PM.