Spring training is a lot like life in that it's ultimately meaningless and most people who are involved in it will leave it disappointed, their dreams never realized. It means something while it's happening, though. It's the only game in town, so they play, and we watch. Got to. This America, man.
Every now and again you get to see something you've never seen before, like on Sunday when the Orioles let pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez into the game for a couple of innings. Rodriguez is one of the guys it's worth getting excited about. Naturally, that means he wasn't very sharp today. It was his first taste of pitching to big league-caliber hitters. In typical Orioles pitching prospect style, he walked David Ortiz and allowed Mike Napoli to hit a home run before he ever even retired a batter.
He may not have actually walked Ortiz with an objective, rulebook strike zone, but that's life. The next inning, Rodriguez was unfortunately victimized by a poor defensive play by Julio Borbon that allowed a run to score. If you're looking for something to hang your hat on, at least he was able to battle through the spots he found himself in without allowing major damage. Except four runs in two innings is kind of major damage.
It would be nice if just one time, an Orioles pitching prospect could come up and just dominate everyone immediately, or at least be good immediately. Rodriguez has another month to work on things, and he has time left in the minors before they summon him too, so there's no point in worrying about him. In fact, maybe this taste of MLB competition will be just what he needs to show him what he still needs to work on.
Back on the subject of meaningless things, this game was started by Brian Matusz. It's nice that he can pretend to be a big league starter for a day. It's even nicer that he pitched a couple of scoreless innings. but we all know that there's no chance of him starting a game for the O's during the regular season unless things go horribly wrong. That ship sailed a long time ago.
Delmon Young and Steve Pearce each had a pair of hits for the O's. Neither one seems likely to have a place on the team, in light of acquisitions that have been made, but they're making their case in the early days of spring training. The other day on the radio, I think it was Fred Manfra who was talking about Pearce and he referred to him as a veteran. Manny Machado has more MLB plate appearances than Pearce. he's just a guy who's kicked around the majors and minors a lot. He is a veteran of being designated for assignment.
In the ninth inning, the Orioles decided to make it interesting, with the guys who were left in the game at that point getting five runs before Xavier Paul struck out looking to end the game. The rally included a two-run double by Jonathan Schoop that scored pinch-runner and Frank Robinson expert Josh Hart. Christian Walker and Buck Britton also had hits during the rally. With Paul's strikeout, the 8-6 final score was sealed and the O's had their first spring training loss in the books.
- One of the Orioles minor leaguers who came along on the road trip was Mike Yastrzemski, grandson of Baseball Hall of Famer Carl, who was in attendance. The younger Yastrzemski entered the game as a pinch runner and scored a run. This was probably done for sentimental reasons, and that's OK. He also walked in the ninth inning.
- Yastrzemski came on the trip to replace Henry Urrutia, who had a sore right shoulder. Urrutia told reporters that he thought it was just something that happened when he made a throw without properly warming up and he doesn't expect it to be a lingering issue.
- T.J. McFarland pitched for a little bit today. He sucked.
- The ninth inning pitcher for the Red Sox was Keith Couch. I have to imagine he was not a fan of a particular sketch from the Dave Chappelle Show. He also sucked and was lifted before getting through the inning.