An off-season of mostly doom and gloom hasn’t let up for the Orioles over the first four days of Spring Training match ups, with the team failing to win any of its five games, while being comprehensively outscored 31-17 throughout.
Despite the results being meaningless and historically proven not to correlate to regular season standings, there has been little to get excited about for a team which is seemingly a long way behind the Red Sox and Yankees, who appear set to battle it out in an old-school AL East showdown this season.
Offensively, young catcher Chance Sisco launched a 3-run bomb in the 9th against the Rays in Friday’s 6-3 loss and went 2-for-2 on the day as he looks to solidify his spot as the team’s back up catcher to Caleb Joseph. He’s started the spring 4-for-7. Fellow catcher Audry Perez also sent one deep in the 9th and went 2-for-2 on Saturday against the Phillies in a game the O’s lost 9-6. Keeping with the catcher theme, Austin Wynns hit a solo shot in the 7th in Saturday night’s 1-1 tie with the Twins, while Manny Machado collected a pair of hits which included a two-bagger. The team scored just once in Sunday’s 7-1 loss to the Red Sox, hitting safely just four times, however in Monday’s 8-6 loss to the Tigers Trey Mancini and Jonathan Schoop each went deep for their first home runs of the spring, with Schoop’s being an Earl Weaver special. Infielder Luis Sardinas has collected five hits in his 10 at bats, while the outfield duo of Alex Presley and Anthony Santander each have four. Of those who have yet to hit safely, Garabez Rosa is 0-for-8 and Joey Rickard is 0-for-7, while Chris Davis is 1-for-8 with four strikeouts.
On the pitching front, Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy were lit up, each allowing five earned runs in their first outings which lasted 1 1/3 and two innings respectively. Mike Wright Jr., Nestor Cortes Jr., and Gabriel Ynoa have also made starts, each allowing one earned run through two innings of work. A quartet of relievers – Alec Asher, Richard Bleier, Jayson Aquino, and Jimmy Yacabonis – have each tossed two scoreless innings while Mychal Givens tossed a scoreless inning on Monday against the Tigers. Asher, Aquino, and Ynoa have each struck out four batters. Of those who have struggled early, Jeff Ferrell, Jason Gurka, and Jose Mesa have each allowed three earned runs in their limited appearances thus far.
Defensively, Manny Machado has looked at home at shortstop in his limited appearances, while Tim Beckham has also been impressive in the hot corner. On Monday, Beckham involved himself in three double-plays and appears to be enjoying the new challenge. Outfielder Cedric Mullins has a pair of outfield assists and the team has committed just three errors across the five games.
The Orioles take on the Rays in Port Charlotte tomorrow, with Hunter Harvey making his first spring start in what is hoped by all within Baltimore to be a breakout season for the young flamethrower.