The Baltimore Orioles and Chris Davis are Back


Mar 5, 2015; Sarasota, FL, USA; Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis (19) hits a three run home run in the third inning during of a spring training baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Ed Smith Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

After suffering through a day stuck at home with 10 inches of snow to deal with in my 800’ country driveway, I was ready to sit down as the seven o’clock hour struck. Knowing the Baltimore Orioles were going to be televised on MASN at that time, I innocently changed the channel from the network news to MASN-HD. I looked into the kitchen as the theme song came on, up popped my wife’s head, and all she said was, “Oh no, is that starting already?”

She’s not a big fan; she’s not even a reader of this blog, so I can talk about her.

But what’s this “starting already” about? Hey, it is more like, “Finally, it is starting!”  You know what I mean!

And I am struck anew about how much easier it is to write about the Orioles when one is able to SEE them, rather than simply read and react to what others have said, or to be digging through endless statistics.

Looking at the Baltimore Orioles saw them defeat an admittedly less than stellar Toronto Blue Jays squad 5-0. But any day where an O’s team beats a Jays team … well, that’s a good day. Added to this is an earlier 3-2 win of another flock of the Birds over the Rays in Port Charlotte.

The televised game brought not only the renewal of familiar faces, but also a reminder of the way Baltimore wins game. There was solid starting pitching from the consistent deliveries of Miguel Gonzalez, great relief pitching, and runs scored by the long ball – a three-run shot by Chris Davis and a two-run blast from Jonathan Schoop.

Of particular interest to O’s fans would be to see the three returning players who were out at the end of last year, as these three are considered so critical to the return of the Orioles to the top of the division. Of course we are talking about Davis, and even more about Manny Machado and Matt Wieters.

Davis hit a no-doubter dinger, dropping the head of the bat hard on a low breaking pitch and lifting it deep into the Sarasota night. If he does this once a game, we’d all forgive his strikeouts in every other at-bat. Crush looked very good in the field as well. Time will tell.

The one of these three that looked the best to me was Machado. He was making all of the plays in the field and showing no ill effects whatsoever. But what was especially encouraging were the beautiful swings he put on balls when at the plate. Machado drilled hard singles in the first two at-bats; he was right on the pitch.

As good as Manny looked, I thought that Wieters appeared the opposite. He seemed to be behind on every swing. He had the appearance of a player struggling to catch up to the speed of the game. I guess that is not surprising, but as I wrote recently, I am not encouraged that he is going to be ready for the beginning of the season.

Ryan Lavarnway had a pretty good game. He made a perfect throw to second on a strike-out / throw-out double play with runners at the corners and one out. He looked decent at the plate, and all of that put together is what he is going to need to make the team.

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As always with Nolan Reimold, the more things change, the more they stay the same. He is the last guy on the planet you’d want to be standing next to in a lightning storm. Reimold just missed a diving catch in foul territory after entering the game as a late-innings replacement in right field. It looked like he could well have injured his left shoulder, though he appeared to shake it off. In his one at-bat, Reimold hit a high chopper to short, and displaying his incredible speed to first, he almost beat it out … and maybe he did. But, he’d never have good enough luck to get the call to go his way.

All of the Orioles pitchers looked very good. I’ll just single out Zach Britton whose stuff was as nasty as ever. Again, it is the pitching that will most likely take the Orioles to the top of the division … more than what is or is not going to replace the losses of Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis.

Oh, speaking of Cruz, one quick little sad moment was to see Schoop return to the dugout after his homer, but Cruz was not the first person there with the slaps, jump and bump routine – gonna miss that.

But hey, can you believe it? There was a real baseball game on TV tonight!

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