For one day at least, the Orioles offense remembered how to score runs in a big way. They scored early and often against Cole Hamels and a parade of successive Phillies pitchers in a 16-4 blowout in Clearwater. In all the Orioles had 21 hits on the day, including five home runs.
If the previous two weeks of spring struggle don't have any meaning, neither does one day's offensive breakout. Still, it's more fun to see them looking good in meaningless action than not. And against a pitcher like Hamels, who is very good, so much the better. Even moreso because there's been some speculation for several months that the Red Sox might make a serious effort to acquire Hamels. Good if you can have a good day against a guy you might be seeing again.
The Orioles grabbed the lead in the top of the first inning and never trailed in the game. Two of the first three O's batters safely reached base for Chris Davis, who blasted a ball over the fence in left center field to put the O's up 3-0. Life will be more interesting this year if Davis has the power to drive the ball out the opposite way. Three second inning doubles by the O's, including one by Davis that drove in another run, increased the lead to 5-0.
Hamels left the game after only two innings. The Orioles did not stop scoring. They piled on another four runs in the third inning, capped by a three-run home run off the bat of Jimmy Paredes. The game was a good one for Paredes, who went 2-3 with a double and a home run. He scored three runs and drove in five and is now batting .429 in the spring. Roster numbers being what they are, it's hard to see him making the team, but he's trying to make that a tough decision.
Nolan Reimold, Steve Pearce, and Dariel Alvarez all added homers later in the game. Pearce's was his third of the spring, while the Alvarez home run was his second. Both of those came with the bases empty.
While Orioles hitters were lighting up the scoreboard, starter Miguel Gonzalez moved things along briskly. He set the Phillies down in order in each of the game's first three innings, throwing only 34 pitches in the process. Before being lifted after the fourth, Gonzalez gave up four hits and two runs. He also struck out four batters. As spring outings go, that will do. Gonzalez tossed another ten pitches in the bullpen after the start because he had yet to hit his pitch count.
Next after Gonzalez was Dylan Bundy, who continued with his spring theme of having some command issues. Bundy pitched only 1.1 innings but in that time he managed to give up two walks and hit a batter. Bundy surrendered a run on two hits. He'll have something to work on when they inevitably send him down to Bowie.
The Orioles' other top pitching prospect, Hunter Harvey, worked an inning later in the game and also battled with the command of his pitches. Harvey walked the first two batters he faced and ended up with both in scoring position after a passed ball. Since it was charged as the PB against J.P. Arencibia, maybe it wasn't Harvey's fault, really. He allowed one run that was unearned as the result of that passed ball, so his spring ERA is still 0.00.
Brad Brach came in for the 9th with the Orioles having a 12-run lead. He set the Phillies down in order to close the book on the blowout.
Tomorrow, the Orioles will be back in Sarasota for a game against the Twins. The scoreboard will be wiped and it'll be a mostly different set of Orioles in the game as well. Hopefully the home spring lineup Orioles can show signs of breaking out of their spring slump as well. The 1:05 game is set to be televised on MASN but will not be on the radio in Baltimore. The scheduled starting pitchers are Bud Norris for the O's and Phil Hughes for Minnesota.