The good news for the Orioles in Friday's 5-3 loss to the Blue Jays is that Ubaldo Jimenez pitched three innings in which he did not allow a run. The bad news is that Jimenez pitched four innings. He is the first O's starter to do so in spring training. He's also the first O's starter to appear in three spring games.
Jimenez surrendered three runs in the bottom of the second inning, spoiling a top of the second in which the O's got themselves two runs on the board. Jonathan Schoop reached base with a one-out single. He advanced on a groundout and scored on another single off the bat of Caleb Joseph. The play at the plate was close thanks to a strong throw from Jays right fielder Jose Bautista, but Schoop made a good hook slide to get in there.
One batter later, they got a second run as designated hitter Henry Urrutia lashed a double into the gap between the right and center fielders. This was enough for Joseph to score from first, even with catcher speed. A promising enough start, though they wouldn't score again until the ninth inning.
The bottom of the second inning began with Jimenez hitting Bautista with a pitch. During the next at-bat he tossed a wild pitch, moving Bautista into scoring position. Bautista scored on a Royalesque blooper off the bat of Daric Barton. Can't write that off as much more than bad BABIP luck, though of course hitting Bautista and letting him advance was on Jimenez.
Still, the next batter, Kevin Pillar, hit what should have been a double play ball. Unfortunately, Schoop made a poor relay throw. That's a play that doesn't get scored an error because "you can't assume the double play." That rule is stupid and Schoop's throw is one reason why. It was a double play ball. Instead, there was one out and a runner on instead of two outs and bases empty. This quickly turned into first-and-third with one out after Danny Valencia singled.
Jimenez did not help himself. He completely ignored Valencia, who swiped second promptly. Your grandmother could have stolen second base there. This set the table for another former Oriole, Chris Dickerson, to double in two runs, although he did manage to TOOTBLAN in an attempt to stretch into a triple.
So you can't blame Jimenez entirely for the bad inning. Still, his line in the box score reads five hits in four innings, with three runs, all earned. He didn't walk anyone, which is nice for him, but he did have two wild pitches and hit a batter.
About this outing from Jimenez, O's manager Buck Showalter told reporters, "I'm OK with where he is right now, but we'll see what the end product is." I think we all already know what the end product is. The only question is what Showalter will be able to do about it.
There were several TOOTBLANs throughout the game. In a later inning, Jimenez caught Jose Reyes napping at first base. Hey, he can hold a runner!
The Orioles' starting shortstop managed a double TOOTBLAN, beginning with his leadoff plate appearance. Jays catcher Russell Martin fielded a chopper in front of the plate and chucked the throw into right field. The leadoff batter motored easily to second base and then got greedy, heading to third where he was thrown out by Bautista.
This general thing has not been an uncommon occurrence for this player in spring training. He had another incident later in the game, thrown out stealing second after getting a single. So he had two hits on the day and got thrown out on the basepaths twice. Not really a banner day.
Two more runs scored in the sixth inning as the Jays did some damage to T.J. McFarland. Bautista walked to lead off the inning. His pinch runner, Steve Tolleson, ended up on third base on a Pillar single. Pillar himself then stole second base to get two men in scoring position for the Jays. Valencia, the former Oriole, drove in the both of them with a single to center. This former Orioles beating the Orioles in spring training is getting annoying, even if it doesn't mean a dang thing.
McFarland gave up two runs on four hits and one walk in two innings of work. He was followed by Tyler Wilson, who also worked two innings, giving up only one hit while striking out two. Wilson was also called for a balk. That's some try-hard umpiring, calling a spring training balk. Balkin' Bob Davidson was on the umpiring crew but did not call the balk. There's the real surprise.
The Orioles pulled back one run in the ninth. Dariel Alvarez led off with a single and moved up a base on each of two groundouts. That's not a very promising way to handle getting the leadoff man on. Alvarez scored on a single by his fellow Cuban Urrutia, setting the 5-3 final score.
In all, the O's had ten hits, better than many of their spring training games. Urrutia had a 3-4 day. The Jays also had ten hits, but they were clumped together better. That's baseball for you.
Next up for the O's is a home game against the Rays tomorrow afternoon at 1:05. That game will be televised on MASN. There will also be a B-squad exhibition game against Puerto Rico on the back fields, which will be open to fans.