For the second straight day of spring training, Orioles pitchers allowed only one run to the opponent. The difference Tuesday is that they actually scored some runs against the Yankees, beating their division rival 3-1 in a home game in Sarasota. That brings the O's Grapefruit League record up to 3-6.
It's not a very impressive record, to be sure, but the Orioles are having a successful spring training thus far in that no one has gotten hurt. Knock on wood! I mention this most every day because it's important every day. Not every team is successful in this. Just today, the Blue Jays announced that Marcus Stroman had torn his ACL during a bunt drill and would be out for the season. The O's could lose every spring training game and still have a better spring training than the Jays if they stayed healthy.
That said, it's more fun when they win, even when the games don't count and they air in the middle of the day on MASN. Any day the Orioles beat the Yankees is a good day, no matter how many regular players the Yankees sent on the road trip. It was actually a decent number as these things go, maybe four regulars and some others who will be on the bench and see big league action. They didn't mow down a bunch of scrubs all game.
The game was a relatively boring scoreless affair until the bottom of the fifth. Catcher Ryan Lavarnway got things started with a leadoff single. He advanced on a wild pitch by the Yankees' Brandon Pinder. Jonathan Schoop drove in the first run of the game with a double. Manny Machado followed up with a single to bring Schoop home and give the O's their second run. J.J. Hardy added a single to give the O's first and third and still with none out, but the heart of the order (Chris Davis, Adam Jones, Matt Wieters) went down in order without getting any more runs in.
Machado had himself a good game, going 3-3 with a stolen base. He also made one of his trademarked sparkling plays in the field. It's hard to even be surprised any more. A cue shot off the bat of Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius landed on the dirt in foul territory but rolled back fair. Machado charged, barehanded the ball in fair territory, and threw out the runner. He looked comfortable at the plate and in the field. It was only a one game sample size, of course, but it is encouraging to see him doing well.
Schoop also had a nice game, turning in a 2-3 at the plate with a double and an RBI.
Rey Navarro scored the third O's run of the game with a solo home run in the seventh inning off of a pitcher named Chasen Shreve, who has probably endured more jokes about his name than most of us will ever have to do in our lives.
All of Davis, Jones, and Wieters were hitless on the day. Wieters has yet to get a hit in spring training. Appearing in a mid-inning MASN interview after being replaced in the game, Jones joked that he was actually helping the team by not being on the field. Remember, it's March 10. There's no point in worrying yet, about anyone.
Five Orioles pitchers combined to hold the Yankees scoreless until the ninth inning. Wei-Yin Chen started the game off with three scoreless innings. He breezed through them with such efficiency that he had to throw some more pitches in the bullpen to get to his targeted pitch count. Kevin Gausman added a pair of scoreless innings, followed by Jason Garcia, who kept the Yankees off the board despite two hits and a walk allowed.
Tommy Hunter pitched the seventh and Steve Johnson pitched the eighth. Johnson had two strikeouts and also made a slick play on a hard comebacker, gloving the ball as it tried to shoot right past him. The play itself was slick and also amusing: On MASN, Gary Thorne was in the middle of interviewing Schoop and he exclaimed, "Whoa!" Schoop, who couldn't see the field from the interview spot, briefly thought Thorne was reacting to something he'd said.
The day was full of broadcast hijinx. That's what you can get away with in spring training. Thorne and Mike Bordick also interviewed Chen through an interpreter after his start was over. They spoke about a new grip on his change-up and Chen's desire to improve his efficiency so he can throw 200 innings. As the interview concluded, Chen said in English, "Thank you, Gary."
Thorne went on afterward to speak of his desire to get Chen speaking an interview in English with all the fervent belief of someone who thinks Stevie Wonder isn't really blind. Never change, Gary! During the Schoop interview, Thorne pressed him on whether Schoop preferred Hardy with or without facial hair, but Schoop would not commit to an answer: "He looks good either way."
The Yankees got their lone run of the day in the ninth inning against Logan Verrett. One-time Yankees stud prospect Gary Sanchez led off with a home run that was crushed over the fence in left-center field. Verrett sent the next three Yankees batters down in order to close out the spring training save in a 3-1 O's victory.
Next for the Orioles is another home game tomorrow against the Blue Jays. That game will not be televised, but it will be broadcast on 105.7 FM in Baltimore, so if you can listen during the day, you will get a little dose of Joe Angel and Fred Manfra in your life.