Results tagged ‘ Manny Machado ’

Baltimore Orioles: Manny Machado meets Chicago

Much of the trade speculation involving the Baltimore Orioles and Manny Machado has him going to the Chicago Cubs. The team on the north side of Chicago is certainly interested, but as with anything else it boils down to the price. However Machado certainly made a name for himself in the Windy City last night with a tape measure home run.

Andrew Cashner made it through the necessary number of innings to qualify for the win last night before growing tired. Cashner’s line: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 4 K. The game was a scoreless draw for almost four innings before the O’s got on the board with the aforementioned homer off the bat of Machado. And this was a long home run, folks. In a pitcher’s park at that.

The question is whether or not doing that in the Cubs’ backyard will help to convince them. My personal prediction is that Machado ends up on the Cubs, and potentially this week at that. The question is whether or not they’re willing to give the Orioles the haul they want for him. Or if the Orioles are willing to budge just a little on said haul.

Mark Trumbo would also smack a solo homer one inning later in the fifth to give the O’s a 2-0 lead. However Chicago would also get on the board that inning on an Abreu RBI-double. The Birds caught a break that inning however, as Chicago opted to send the trail runner in an attempt to tie the score. And Mancini’s throw nailed the runner at home plate, preserving the lead and ending the inning.

But the Orioles got their two-run lead back in the sixth on a solo home run by Adam Jones. However Cashner appeared gassed at that point, putting a few runners on in the last of the sixth. Garcia’s RBI-double cut the Orioles’ lead to 3-2, and on came Mychal Givens in relief – with two on and nobody out. And Givens pitched out of it, preserving the Orioles’ lead. That almost single-handedly won the game for the O’s.

After the game Adam Jones commented on how all facets of the team came together to win this game (quote courtesy of Jeff Arnold, mlb.com):

Today was a total team win … When you use every facet of your team, you generally do well. So it was good to see.

The series continues tonight in Chicago Kevin Gausman gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Chicago’s James Shields. Game time is set for just after 8 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Is fair now foul and up now down?

The Baltimore Orioles are in Chicago to take on the ChiSox, who of course share a city with the Chicago Cubs. That would be a team that’s apparently hot for Manny Machado. Since the Winter Meetings last December, the Orioles have been willing to trade Machado…for the right price. They’ve yet to see that price.

That aside, selling Machado would indicate that the franchise is potentially looking to sell players off and start over. I really hesitate to use the word rebuild, because in a sports sense I’m not a fan of it. It’s one thing to “warm-over” your team. But are fans really going to stand for a true rebuild? You know, where you tear EVERYTHING down and build it back up?

I’ve always said that’s a tough sell to fans. You’re asking people to continually spend their money to come out to the ballpark and pay big league prices for what amounts to a non-big league roster. And while someone such as myself might see the benefit of becoming entrenched with a group of players from the get-go, I’m in the minority. Most people want that big league product, and they want it now. That’s why the Orioles have never committed to rebuilding over the years – because it’s a tough sell to fans.

But I’ve noticed something in the past few years that challenges that line of thinking. Heck, everything else I know to be true in baseball is getting challenged (including the concept of a nine-inning game), why not that also?! The 2016 Yankees were a veteran team and they decided to cut ties with several players mid-year. The haul they got back included the likes of a guy named Judge. They went on to contend for the wild card that year.

The Tampa Rays of this year sold off what few big name players they had in the off season. They wiped the slate totally clean. And they’re playing way over their heads. In general I’m not a fan of youth, because I don’t want to deal with the on and off-the-field mistakes. But are the current youth different than before?

The answer is mixed. Young kids are always going to mess up here and there. And in saying that I suppose I’m talking more off the field than on. I’m talking about things such as Sidney Ponson‘s various driving violations among other things. That’s the type of thing that neither the Orioles, nor the fans want to have to deal with. No matter how good the player could be.

However many of these young players are also able to provide a shot in the arm to teams. Again, look at the 2016 NY Yankees, and this year’s Tampa team. In terms of wins and losses, they’re actually better than they were with the vets. Why is that?

You might chalk it up to youthful exuberance, however I need something a bit more tangible than an emotional argument. The fact is that college baseball as an institution is getting much stronger than it was even 20 years ago. I don’t think it’ll ever reach the point of being as popular as football or basketball, but it’s growing in popularity. And that means that there’s better coaching out there, and skill.

Point being that players are more ready when they get to the big leagues than they previously were. They have a stronger skill set, because they have solid foundations – both from the minors and from college. That makes a world of difference.

I still say that a full rebuild is too tough a sell to a fan base. Because what if it doesn’t work? What if you exchange your talent for what turns out to be lemons? You’re kind of up a creek without a paddle – that’s what happens.

Baltimore Orioles: Manny Machado leads the way to victory

Manny Machado wasn’t the reason the Baltimore Orioles topped Tampa this evening. It was a team effort across the board. However anytime you smack two homers, one of which is a grand slam, you’re going to turn heads.

Kevin Gausman produced a quality start, and kept Tampa’s lineup at bay for the entire evening. Gausman’s line: 7.1 IP, 11 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 6 K. And Gausman also gave the Orioles exactly what they needed in terms of an outing. They needed Gausman to go deeper into the game so as to help save the bullpen for tomorrow’s doubleheader. He did that and then some.

The Orioles never really trailed in this game, as Machado’s first homer of the game was a two-run shot in the first inning. Tampa would cut the lead in half in the third on an RBI-single by Cron, however that’s as close as Tampa would get. Jonathan Schoop‘s RBI-double in the sixth would run the score to 3-1, and one inning later Mark Trumbo would smack a solo homer over the wall to give the O’s a 4-1 lead.

Later in that seventh inning Machado would come up once again, this time with the bases loaded. And he didn’t disappoint, smacked a grand slam over the left field wall. However the fact is that it was a good thing that the O’s put those runs up. Tampa would net three runs in the eighth, cutting the Orioles’ lead to 8-4. But Chance Sisco would smack a solo homer in the last of the eighth which provided an insurance run for the Birds, who won it 9-4.

The interesting thing is that Tampa actually put 15 hits on the board. That to the Orioles’ 10. And that’s how Tampa wins games – they get an abundance of guys on base. But the Orioles’ pitching was just too good to let them get any further than that. They were unable to plate the majority of those runners, which is a testament to how good Gausman and those who followed him were.

Buck Showalter said after the game that he thought Gausman was “a little unlucky” on a few plays. That’s his way of saying that Tampa doesn’t hit the ball very hard. The bloop, dip, and dunk you to death. However in this game the Orioles hit-for-power, which is how they win games. If your power game is on, you’ll be able to defeat that everyday. IF your power game is on.

Before the game the Orioles placed starter Chris Tillman on the DL with a back injury. Showalter said that he had an MRI earlier today, and will continually be evaluated. Jimmy Yacabonis was called up from triple-A to take Tillman’s roster spot. Both teams will have the luxury of 26 roster spots tomorrow due to the doubleheader.

The Orioles now turn their attention to tomorrow’s aforementioned single admission doubleheader at Camden Yards. The Birds will throw David Hess in game one (who’ll be called up from triple-A before the game), and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Chris Archer. Game time is set for just after 3 PM. (Please note that game two will begin approximately 20-30 minutes after the conclusion of game one.) It will also be Hess’ big league debut.

Baltimore Orioles allow a first inning error to derail game

Teams are getting fat off of the Baltimore Orioles. In this case it was a first inning error charged to Jace Peterson – but in reality should have been in Manny Machado‘s column. But one way or the other, one mistake a game shouldn’t decide. Yet that’s what’s going on with the 2018 Orioles.

Andrew Cashner actually didn’t pitch that poorly, despite what his stats say. Cashner’s line: 4.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R (3 earned), 3 BB,  5 K. However what can ultimately happen when you allow a statistical or in-game oddity dictate the terms of your season is that things aren’t allowed to be what they seem. After a rough first inning, Cashner really settled in.

Adam Jones, playing in his 1500th game as an Oriole, actually gave the Birds a brief lead with a solo homer in the first inning. Of course Cashner didn’t do himself any favors by walking the lead off batter. But the best way to combat a walk is by inducing a ground ball double-play to the next hitter. And to his credit, Cashner appeared to do that…

…until a faux pas made it so that he didn’t do it. The next hitter (Semien) grounded the ball to Manny Machado at short, beginning what would have been a text book double-play, leaving Oakland with two outs in the first inning and nobody on. However when Machado tossed the ball to Jace Peterson he did so to his hand side; on top of that, the ball was wide of Peterson. In short instead of two outs and the bases empty, Oakland had no outs and runners on first and second.

Cashner did induce a pop up for an out on the next hitter, which all things being equal would have been the end of the inning. That brought Davis to the plate, who smacked a three-run homer, giving Oakland a 3-1 lead. On top of that Olson’s solo home run ran it to 4-1.

But the sixth inning put the Birds back in the game. RBI-singles by Chris DavisMark Trumbo, and Danny Valencia got Cashner off the hook. And that’s the silver lining in this game. The O’s made a good run of it, showing that they can plate runs. However Oakland took the lead back in the last of that sixth inning on a Lowrie RBI-single. Semien would add one of his own in the eighth, leaving the Birds with a 6-4 loss.

All wins and losses are team efforts. I don’t want to be overly critical on Peterson or Machado, because you have to overcome errors like that. Especially that early in the game. And in some manner they did overcome it, by coming back and tying the game.

However as I said above, all things being the same Cashner gets the Orioles out of that inning unscathed. That’s always a tough argument to make because it’s almost unfair to hypothetically change one thing about the inning and not others. But you get the point. The two guys who homered wouldn’t have even come up in that inning.

The stat line says that only one of those runs were unearned. (And for the record it was the run scored by the lead runner – you can never assume the double-play.) However in reality none of those runs should have crossed. The Orioles are allowing their mistakes to dictate who they are and what they are becoming. Normally you can almost laugh off a first inning error and say that there’s a lot more game to be played. But the O’s are allowing it to become not a part of their identity, but they’re allowing it TO BE their identity.

The series continues this evening at the Oakland Coliseum. Kevin Gausman gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Oakland’s Trevor Cahill. Game time is set for just after 9 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Manny Machado needs to be in Dodger Blue

The Baltimore Orioles this evening will open up a three-game set out on the west coast against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – known by my generation as the California Angels. In past years the O’s have mostly gotten their entire west coast swing out in one fatal swoop. However they’ll return to the Pacific Time Zone in early September to visit Seattle.

However the big news out of Los Angeles overnight regarded the Angels’ crosstown rival – the Los Angeles Dodgers placed SS Corey Seager on the DL, pending Tommy John surgery. Seager will miss the rest of the season, and perhaps the beginning of next year. Often times guys can be out for the better part of a year after having that procedure.

The Orioles of course have a shortstop in Manny Machado, who’s been the speculation of trade rumors here and there. And the fact that the Orioles have started slowly this year have fueled speculation that the team could deal Machado and others. So with Seager on ice, would the boys in Dodger Blue be a good trade partner for the Orioles?

The answer to that question is unmistakably YES. The Los Angeles Dodgers in fact have a fairly deep farm system, chock full of prospects that would interest any team. Gifts don’t fall in your lap very often, especially when you’re the Orioles. So I would submit that the O’s should take advantage of this and call the Dodgers if they already haven’t spoken.

In using the term gift, I literally mean a gift. The conventional wisdom is that a trade partner may not want to give up too much for a guy like Machado who in essence would be a rental. But the Dodgers literally have a need, and that need is RIGHT NOW. And it’ll be for the remainder of the season. That’s a variable that no other team in the league can match. And odds are it’ll drive the price for Machado back up to what the Orioles might expect.

The Dodgers’ farm system is deep with pitching, which as we know is something of which you can never have too much. Their top prospect is a 23-year old RHP named Walker Buehler, who’s posted a 3.35 ERA following Tommy John surgery, and who can get his fastball up to the 98-100 MPH range. They also have prospects who look to be solid big league starters named Mitchell White, and Yadier Alvarez – one of whom could be in play in trade conversations as well.

The idea of trading Machado has never been about buying or selling in terms of this year. It’s always been about getting someone for a guy who’s contract’s expiring. Trading Machado wouldn’t be punting the season – per se. It would be re-loading the organization with talent that could help them down the line.

So I’m saying that this needs to happen. As early perhaps as today. Los Angeles is a team that’s been rumored to be in on the Machado sweepstakes anyways – if he isn’t going to stay in Baltimore, the Orioles I’m sure would be interested in him landing outside of the AL East. Chavez Ravine would be an ideal spot.

Of course for the Orioles that would mean a bit of re-shuffling players in the immediate interim. I think that Pedro Alvarez has been playing a solid enough third base to warrant keeping him there for now. When he returns from injury, Tim Beckham could slide right back into the SS spot, which is much more natural to him than third base. The Orioles also have Ruben Tejada at Norfolk who they could call up to play shortstop for the time being. Not to mention Jace Peterson. And going back to the hot corner for a moment, don’t forget about Chris Davis, who plays a solid third base as well.

So the Orioles have some options. This almost makes too much sense not to do if you’re them. Would those set-ups totally replace Machado? Of course not – he’s too great a player to replace totally. But could they get away with that type of set-up? Yes. While the Dodgers are in Arizona starting tonight, the fact that the Orioles are in Anaheim would make this an easy transition for all as well.

The series in L.A. begins tonight at Angels Stadium. Alex Cobb gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Los Angeles’ Nick Tropeano. Game time is set for just after 10 PM.

Baltimore Orioles fall to Cleveland despite two Manny Machado homers

Manny Machado‘s two home runs this afternoon were a bit of a catch-22 for the Baltimore Orioles. It’s tough to argue that Machado isn’t one of the hottest hitters in baseball right now. But they were both solo homers, further illustrating that the O’s are having a tough time getting guys on base. If they could smack some of these home runs with runners on, the games might be turning out differently/

Andrew Cashner was solid for the Orioles this afternoon, but not solid enough. Cashner’s line: 6.0 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 7 K. Cashner’s big problem was that he couldn’t turn in a shutdown inning once he got the lead. Granted however, Cleveland’s big damage wasn’t done until after he had hit the showers.

Manny Machado’s first solo homer of the day came right off the bat – in the last of the first, giving the Orioles a 1-0 lead. Again keep in mind that Machado hits third; that means two guys ahead of him recorded outs. Had even one of them gotten on base, the Birds would have had a more substantial lead.

The Orioles’ lead would hold until the fourth, when Ramirez would smack a solo homer of his own which tied the game. Later in the inning Cleveland got the lead briefly on Alonso’s RBI-double. However it was the last of that fourth inning which saw Machado smack his second homer of the game, tying things back up at two.

And in fact, things were looking up for the Orioles. Later in the fourth inning following a Jones double, Chris Davis‘ RBI-double gave the O’s a 3-2 lead. And in the wake of that is where Cashner needed a shutdown inning. And he couldn’t do it.

Cleveland would tie the game at three on a Lindor RBI-single in the fifth, and then take a 4-3 lead on Brandlet’s RBI-single later in the inning. That did keep the O’s to within one run, but they were unable to muster any more offense against Cleveland starter Kluber for the remainder of the game. To add insult to injury, Ramirez would smack his second homer of the game in the ninth (this one of the two-run variety), which was followed by a two-RBI double by Gomes, leaving the O’s with a 7-3 loss.

After the game manager Buck Showalter was asked if he felt his team could dig itself out of the hole it’s dug now at 6-16 (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):

It’s a hole, if you want to call it a ‘hole,’ something that can be dug out of. We can. But you can’t just wish it and hope it and think it’s something that comes with the mathematics of a season. I understand you always have a sense of urgency. But you don’t really compare yourself with other teams that much and you don’t compare yourself with what portion of the season you’ve played and this and that and whatever.

We know the world we live in and move on from that. These guys are participators, they’re not watchers and they understand what’s going on. We talk about it in some form or fashion every day. Some things out of sight. But we’ve got to be better. We’ve got to do better. We know that.

So the skipper still has faith that something can happen this season moving forward. However the Orioles need to focus on tomorrow’s game right now – and only tomorrow’s game. And then onward from there.

The series concludes tomorrow night at Camden Yards. Kevin Gausman gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Cleveland’s Hector Carrasco. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Manny Machado’s base running blunder costs the Birds

The Baltimore Orioles are in a spot whereby they literally can’t make mistakes in games. They have to be almost perfect in order to win – for now. Ask Andrew Cashner, who turned in another quality start for the O’s tonight, and took the loss. Cashner’s line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 5 K.

Cashner gave up a two-run homer in the second inning to Martinez, who hit his first of the season. The Birds played catch-up the rest of the night, although at first it looked like they might get there. Trey Mancini‘s solo homer in the third inning cut the lead to 2-1. Two innings later in the fifth, Adam Jones‘ RBI-single tied the game and appeared to put the Orioles in a great spot.

Manny Machado was on first base with two outs at the time of Jones’ RBI-single. So it appeared that the Birds had a two-out rally going with one run in and runners at first and second. That meant that the go-ahead run was in scoring position.

However Machado inexplicably decided to try to take third base. Detroit played the ball back in, tagging the runner out on the base paths and ending the inning. In the bottom of that very same fifth inning Detroit would get an RBI-triple from Candelario, and then an additional run would score on a wild pitch in the eighth. And that was all she wrote; the Birds fell 4-2.

It’s always a tough sell to make all things being equal statements. There’s no guarantee that the Orioles push an additional run across in the person of Manny Machado in that fifth inning. However the fact is that had Machado stopped at second base as he was probably designed to do, the shot is there.

If they’re able to put an additional run across in that inning, the Birds take the lead. Again, the all things being equal argument is never a good one. And that’s especially true given the fact that Detroit ended up winning the game on another Oriole mistake, that being a wild pitch. However you see where I’m going with this…

…the fact is that Manny Machado’s going to win you more games than he’s going to lose you. But this is a totally different ballgame if he doesn’t get thrown out. You have to know the score and where you are in the game at all times. And the situation calls for continuing the inning in that case. Those are things that can’t happen, but that do when a team’s struggling.

Just a programming note, tomorrow’s game has been switched to a 1 PM first pitch. (Meaning that the final two games of the series are mid-week day games.) This change was made by Detroit and MLB, in conjunction with the Orioles, as the forecast for Detroit tomorrow evening isn’t good. Smart move, in my view.

The series in fact will continue tomorrow at Comerica Park. Kevin Gausman gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Detroit’s Matthew Boyd. Game time is set for just after 1 PM, as I said above.

Baltimore Orioles: Back-to-back-to-back in the first bludgeons Pittsburgh

To paraphrase a famous poem, the outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Baltimore Orioles today. Not at the very beginning of the game at least. Jayson Aquino gave up two RBI-doubles in the first inning, and the O’s appeared destined for a loss to Pittsburgh. But that was all Aquino would surrender, and Oriole bats took it from there. Aquino’s line: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 3 K.

But that rough first inning for Aquino was the pinnacle of Pittsburgh’s day. With a runner on base in the last of the first, Trey Mancini smacked a two-run homer to tie the game. The rest is history – no, really…the rest is history! Manny Machado came to the plate next, and suddenly after his solo homer the Birds held the lead. That brought Jonathan Schoop to the plate, and he smacked a solo shot of his own.

When the smoke cleared, the O’s led 4-2 – after back-to-back-to-back home runs. And Oriole bats kept the pressure on. They would load the bases in the third, scoring an additional run on a Chance Sisco walk. Anthony Santander‘s RBI-single would give the O’s a 6-2 lead, and Colby Rasmus would blow it right open with a two-RBI single. That would give the Birds an 8-2 lead.

Tough to come back from, if you look at it from Pittsburgh’s perspective. But perhaps we saw a preview of how potent this Orioles offense can be this year. This was supposed to be what we saw last year, but it never really happened. Needless to say, they came into this game with a balanced offensive attack that fired on all cylinders.

The O’s would net two more runs in that third inning on sacrifice ground outs and fly balls by Machado and Jones respectively. Santander would add an RBI-single an inning later, and Pittsburgh would add three more runs over the course of the middle/later innings. By far, this was the best day of the spring for Oriole bats.

Again, the hope is that this foreshadows what the Orioles see out of their offense this season. We saw contributions up and down the lineup, which is what you want to see. Jayson Aquino on the run support (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):

It’s great to have support like that. What you’ve got to do is keep putting zeros up and I tried to put the team in a good position.

The Orioles will pull a split squad day tomorrow with the B Team heading to Fort Myers to play Boston, and the A Team taking on Philadelphia in Sarasota in the evening. Andrew Cashner will make his Orioles’ spring training debut in the nightcap, and he’ll be opposed by Philadelphia’s Nick Pivetta. Game time is set for just after 6 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Manny Machado homers as Birds win at batting practice

The good news for the Baltimore Orioles is that Manny Machado and the other regulars are starting to get into their groove. If there’s one thing however which is somewhat concerning, it’s how some of the presumed starting pitchers are getting dusted up; today it was Dylan Bundy struggling against Pittsburgh reserves. Bundy’s line: 2.1 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 0 BB, 0 K.

To be fair, not many pitchers had good outings in today’s ballgame. In reality, it was akin to batting practice. However it was the second inning that got Bundy, and he admitted as much after the game (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):

I got a couple guys with two strikes and gave up some hits there. Didn’t really put them away and execute the pitches. I was leaving them … all the pitches out over the plate today. Last outing, I was just missing off the plate. This outing, I was just missing too much on the plate I felt like and a little bit up. I’ve just got to keep working during spring.

Losing guys with two strikes (or two outs) was a problem all of last year. The Orioles’ coaching staff really needs to review film on all of their pitchers to see if there’s anything that’s fundamentally different once they hit two-strike counts or once two outs are recorded. The last thing this team needs is that concern to be following them this year as well.

The Birds took an early 1-0 lead on Manny Machado’s RBI-double in the last of the first. However as I said above, the second inning was Dylan Bundy’s bugaboo today. He allowed a three-RBI triple to Frazier, and an RBI-double to Marte. One other thing I’ve noticed is that regardless of who’s pitching or catching, opposing teams are stealing bases at will against Oriole batteries. It happened in that second inning to get a second runner into scoring position, and it happened a couple of other times in the game. Again, the coaching staff needs to look at these scenarios and see if teams are picking up on something in terms of being able to steal at will against the O’s. Otherwise come regular season time, singles quickly turn into doubles.

The O’s would swap runs with Pittsburgh in the second and third, with Colby Rasmus smacking his inaugural spring homer as an Oriole (in the second), and Moran doubling home an additional run for Pittsburgh in the third. Cunningham would add a sac fly-RBI an inning later, and the Birds trailed 6-2. But the fireworks were about to start.

Tim Beckham‘s RBI-double in the last of the fourth would cut that lead to 6-3. Trey Mancini  would single Beckham home, and suddenly the Orioles were in the game, trailing only by a single run. Machado would come up again later in that fourth inning with two runners on, and he ceremoniously put the O’s in the driver’s seat for good with a three-run homer.

While Pittsburgh would threaten a couple more times and net two additional runs, Beckham’s two-run home run in the fifth would propel the Orioles to a 10-8 victory. Again, one might draw some concern in this game regarding Bundy and how he looked. But any smart baseball person will tell you that this was just one of those games. On the flip side, sometimes you win games 2-1 which leave you walking away wondering long term what happened to your teams’ bats…and you just say it’s one of those games.

This was the third win for the Orioles on the spring, but perhaps more importantly it was the first home win, meaning that most of the guys in the lineup were starters. Before the game the Birds announced that they had signed former Oriole and longtime journeyman Danny Valencia to a minor league contract. Valencia is expected to be infield depth, and obviously could see time in the big leagues. But whether in Norfolk or in Baltimore, he’s in the Orioles’ organization again.

The Orioles tomorrow will head to Clearwater to take on the Philadelphia Phillies. Kevin Gausman gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Philadelphia’s Tom Eshelman. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles offense comes alive in loss

The good news for the Baltimore Orioles is that the bats came alive this afternoon. The bad news is that they surrendered an eight-run lead in the seventh inning. However even still, the silver lining is that starter Mike Wright looked good in his abbreviated appearance. Wright’s line: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K.

The Birds loaded the bases in the last of the third with nobody down, bringing Manny Machado to the plate. And Machado hit his first home run of the spring, in the form of a grand slam. St. Louis did net a run back in the fourth on an RBI-single, however the Orioles appeared to be off to the races.

That Machado homer was complimented in the last of the fifth with a three-run homer off the bat of Chris Davis. This gave the O’s a 7-1 lead, in a game that seemed to be turning into a laugher. Tack on a solo homer by Trey Mancini later in the inning, and one in the sixth by Ryan Mountcastle, and the O’s had a 9-1 lead in the middle of the game.

It’s important to note that from a pitching standpoint, Wright did his job – and did it well. Wright’s spot on the roster isn’t guaranteed, but he has a shot. The only other pitcher who entered the game today that will be on the big league roster was Darren O’Day. And he pitched a clean inning, striking out one.

However before the Orioles knew it, St. Louis had put an eight-run seventh inning on the board. This isn’t how you want any game to go. But again, nobody that pitched in the game at that point is going to be a big leaguer. In fact, the regulars had long since departed the game overall by that point.

St. Louis also would also put a run on the board on an RBI-single in the eighth to take a 10-9 lead. And there’s your ballgame. However the takeaway from this game should be that the bats came alive. As I’ve said, hitters are behind pitchers for the first part of spring training. If today’s game is any indication, it appears that the Orioles’ hitters are catching up. That’s a good sign.

The Orioles will return to Port Charlotte tomorrow to take on the Tampa Rays once again. Nestor Cortes Jr. will get the start, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Jake Faria. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

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