The Orioles played another spring training game on Thursday afternoon and they lost another spring training game on Thursday afternoon. Remember not to panic, because as my friend and Camden Chat predecessor Stacey points out, spring training stats don't matter. Still, it's hard to muster a heck of a lot of enthusiasm for a set of Orioles games that aren't on TV or radio in Baltimore and that the team isn't winning. They lost this particular game to the Cardinals by an 8-2 margin.
Is it much comfort that they lost even though they weren't trying all that hard to win? As is customary in spring training, the bulk of the team's veterans and regulars stayed behind while a B-squad was sent on a bus ride. It seems unlikely that many regular season games will hinge on the success or failure of players like Jayson Nix and Matt Tuiasosopo.
Many regular season games will hinge on the success or failure of starting pitcher Bud Norris, though. He took the mound to get Thursday's game started. He was supposed to get through three innings of work and did not finish the third inning. In 2.2 innings of work, he walked three batters and hit another.
Norris also gave up three hits, including a three-run home run off the bat of former Oriole Mark Reynolds. This was not the last bruising by former players from the Orioles organization in the game.
About the outcome of his start, Norris was not concerned. "The key for me is getting out of there and staying healthy. It's good to have some ups and downs," Norris told O's reporters. He also said that he knows he needs to work on pitching from the windup for next time. That's spring training for you, and that's one reason why it doesn't matter.
The Reynolds home run squandered an early Orioles 1-0 lead that they picked up in the top of the first inning against Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia. Nix delivered a one out single and advanced to second when Nolan Reimold took a walk. A double by Jimmy Paredes drove home Nix. That also ended the inning, however, when Reimold was thrown out at the plate. Nincompoopery is afoot in any out on the basepaths, though who exactly to blame for this instance is up for some debate.
By the time Norris left the game, the O's trailed 3-1. Brad Brach relieved Norris. The first three batters he faced all reached: A double, a walk, and an RBI single that left the O's trailing 4-1. Brach also pitched the fourth, giving up another walk but no more hits and no more runs. He also got two strikeouts.
The fifth inning brought Dylan Bundy to the mound. With the exception perhaps of Ubaldo Jimenez, there's no other O's pitcher from whom you'd like to see some good spring training results, even if those results don't matter. Those results were not there today. A couple of former O's farmhands touched him up in the fifth: Michael Ohlman drove a double to the opposite field and then scored on a single by Matt Shaffner's all-time favorite Orioles prospect, Ty Kelly. Wait, a catcher scored from second on a single? Is that allowed?
MASN's Roch Kubatko described the Kelly single on Twitter as "a soft liner that deflected off (Jonathan) Schoop's glove." Perhaps a bad bit of BABIP luck there. Bundy added a 1-2-3 sixth before being relieved at the start of the seventh inning.
A second Orioles run did not cross the plate until the seventh inning, and that only came after a leadoff double from Henry Urrutia turned into Urrutia advancing and then scoring on consecutive groundouts. Steve Clevenger got the RBI for his grounder to second base that scored Urrutia. You can certainly do worse with a man on third and less than two out, like strike out.
In the bottom of the seventh, Mark Hendrickson was on the mound for the O's. Things did not go so well. After an infield single and a walk, Hendrickson faced two men on with no one out. He got a grounder off the bat of Dean Anna to get one out, but that put both runners in scoring position.
Next up was Ohlman once again. Ohlman ended up safely on first after a fielder's choice with no out recorded. Substitute second baseman Rey Navarro seems to have thrown home, but he could not get out the runner. Bad luck or Hendrickson suffering from a fielder making a poor decision? It doesn't matter. It's still unfortunate. Stephen Piscotty added a double to score another Cardinals run.
That was all for Hendrickson, who left the game with only one out recorded. He was relieved by the elder Bundy, Bobby. Bundy allowed one of the inherited runners to score on a sacrifice fly, then struck out yet another former Oriole, Scott Moore, to end the seventh with the O's trailing 8-2. Moore was the only former Oriole in the game who didn't do any damage to them.
Hunter Harvey pitched the bottom of the eighth for the O's. He hit the leadoff batter, Xavier Scruggs, before sending the next three Cardinals down in order. I hope he gets into one of the MASN games.
A team is not going to win many games where they only get five hits and one walk. That was the Orioles today. Only three of the starting hitters safely reached base at any point.
Next up for the O's is another game on the road, this one in the Toronto camp. On the bright side, this one at least will be on TV, as long as you get the MLB Network. The game has a 1:07 scheduled start time.