The Orioles beat down the Phillies on Friday afternoon. They went up to the top rope for the flying body splash. They took some swings with a steel chair. They dropped the Phillies through the Spanish announcers table. They showed why A.J. Burnett seemed to want no part of pitching in the American League East. He wanted National League easy mode and that's what he'll get, but that doesn't help him much in spring training.
The Orioles won by a score of 15-4, which is nice, even if it doesn't count for anything. What does count is one bit of unfortunate bad news: Miguel Gonzalez (O's version - the Phillies one also pitched in this game), who had come on to pitch the fifth inning, was hit by a line drive in the lower leg and had to come out of the game early. He walked off the field under his own power without a significant limp. The MASN broadcasters noted he was coming out as a precaution and he had appeared to point to a welt on his leg.
They're calling the injury a "left tibia contusion." It seems to be a day-to-day situation. Hopefully for Gonzalez, he'll be ready to go the next time he's scheduled to start.
Burnett's struggles were a fun bit of schadenfreude for O's fans. In three innings, he gave up six runs on seven hits, walking one and hitting two batters. Good luck winning a championship on that team, guy.
Nick Markakis was the star of the game for the O's, recording four hits before being lifted for a pinch runner in the fifth inning. Markakis had two doubles and a triple. After last season when he was extra-base hit-challenged for so long, it's nice to see him break out with some power again. He won't be able to feast on such National League dreck for most of the regular season, but it's something. He's reported to have gained 15 pounds and it showed today. He was pulling the ball and also hitting gaps with authority.
Another Oriole who had an impressive day was Ryan Flaherty, who rode around the field on that elusive unicorn Plate Discipline. Flaherty came to the plate four times and also reached base four times. He added two walks to a double and a home run. Sure, the double was hit off the kind of guy who pitches the sixth inning of a blowout in spring training, but who's counting? His homer was an impressive blast to deep center that may not have landed yet.
At the beginning of his game, Ubaldo Jimenez got to make his spring debut for the O's. Jimenez pitched two scoreless innings without allowing a baserunner. He notched three strikeouts, though some of that may have been influenced by a generous strike zone from the home plate umpire. Better to see him look good than not in that environment, though. His fastball topped out at 91 miles per hour and was more often 89-90. He averaged 91.7 last season.
Philadelphia got on the scoreboard in the fourth inning with a couple of runs off Brian Matusz. The day was windy enough that you could use the excuse that it might not have been as bad in regular conditions, especially the run-scoring single that popped out of Adam Jones' glove as he dove for it. Because it's a spring game, the MASN booth interviewed Matusz after his outing, which led to a hilarious exchange where Jim Palmer informed Matusz that he hasn't walked anyone in 20 years because he's been broadcasting. Never change, Jim.
- Manager Buck Showalter and most of the Orioles veteran players left the game early to get on a chartered plane to meet with family members of Orioles PR Director Monica Barlow. They're expected to be back for tomorrow's game.
- The Orioles announced their first three cuts during the game. Lefty Mike Belfiore was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk. Non-roster relievers Tim Alderson and Nick Additon were re-assigned to minor league camp. Maybe they're cutting fringe guys in alphabetical order.
- Jonathan Schoop blasted a solo home run in the eighth inning after falling into an 0-2 hole.