The first televised Baltimore Orioles spring training game revealed more than just hopes for seasonal change, but also hopes for a successful 2014 for the Birds. Fans got to see both the friendly faces of the past, along with a new set of personnel who hope to contribute to the coming season. (For a complete reference list, check out our article HERE. It can help you out in the latter innings of the game!)
One is never completely certain what can be learned from a spring training game. The visiting team does not always bring their main guys, though the Blue Jays did bring more than is typical. And pitchers may be working on a specific part of their game such as spotting their fastball.
But it turned into an interesting game as the afternoon wore on.
It was the host of back-up players for the Orioles who put up seven runs in the bottom of the 8th inning to bring the Birds back from a 7-2 deficit to score a 9-7 victory. The big blow was provided by Francisco Peguero who cleared the loaded bases with a two-out triple. Oh, you don’t recall Peguero? Can he make the team? That’s why you need the list mentioned above!
Starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez looked very good. Though he gave up a run on two hits in the second inning, both hits were on pretty good pitches – gotta give the hitters credit sometimes.
We were able to see from David Lough some of the elements of his game that are destined to make him a fan favorite in Baltimore. He made a nice diving catch on a liner into short left-centerfield. And he beat out an infield grounder by his hustle down the line, setting up scoring the first Orioles run on a Chris Davis two-run double. Lough worked a leadoff walk in the fifth and stole second base.
Ryan Webb, a player I hope could be considered perhaps a top choice as a closer candidate, did not look good at all. His ball was up in the zone and he did not work at all to hold base runners. He did manage to get out of his inning with no runs scored on three hits.
Edgmer Escalona gave up a 2-1 Orioles lead in the top of the 6th inning, though he probably deserved a bit better fate. Xavier Paul turned a fly ball into a double, and a broken bat single extended the inning. Dan Johnson would get a pitch down the center of the plate and drive a three-run homer over the right-field fence. After five runs scored, it does not look good for Escalona’s chances.
Catcher Johnny Monell had a terrible game in every facet. He struck out twice, had runners taking bases, and failed to pull down a high throw from Schoop at the plate.
Jonathon Schoop continues to impress, driving a bases-loaded two-run grounder into left field in the eighth inning. Though there is quite a sizeable fan club out there to see Schoop make the team now, and in spite of his early successes in spring training, I do not think he looked at all close to being ready last year or in the Arizona League. He’ll get there though.
But the main thing today is that they are playing actual baseball games! The next televised game will be Friday against the Phillies.
How about starting your year off on the right foot as well by liking The Baltimore Wire on Facebook and following @BaltimoreWireFS on Twitter?