The Orioles won on Sunday and they also lost. This is not an abstract philosophical statement. There were two different Orioles teams in action against two different teams in two different stadiums. The team that went on the road beat the Blue Jays, 4-2, while the team that stayed at home in Sarasota lost to the Twins, 6-5.
Between both games, the best thing to happen was the outing by Ubaldo Jimenez in the road game against the Jays. With the regular season just a little more than a week away, now is when you want to see pitchers starting to put things together. Against the Jays A-listers, Jimenez allowed five hits and only one walk (!!!) in six innings of work. The lone run he allowed came in the fourth inning when Josh Donaldson hit a solo homer.
More of Jimenez's outs were on the ground than in the air. It's spring training, so it doesn't quite matter yet, but it was a real Jays lineup and Jimenez looked like a real major league pitcher. Almost enough to make you think that his inevitable presence in the regular season rotation won't be a total disaster.
Things did not go as well in the other game for Miguel Gonzalez against the Twins. It was a Five Runs All Earned kind of game for Gonzalez, who gave up the runs on seven hits and a walk in 5.2 innings of work. He also struck out five batters. Gonzalez left the game with a runner on base. Reliever David Hess, a minor leaguer making his first appearance at big league spring, allowed the inherited runner to score when he gave up a home run to Oswald Arcia, which broke what was at the time a 4-4 tie.
Gonzalez's performance could have been better. At least one O's beat writer noted that Gonzalez didn't look very sharp. That isn't a good sign; then again, Gonzalez could be the pitcher from the rotation ticketed for the minor leagues, so who knows? Either way, there aren't likely to be any regular season games that hinge on the performance of Hess, with no slight intended to last year's 5th round pick. Hess has never pitched above Delmarva.
The winning Orioles team had double-digit hits; the losing Orioles team did not, despite scoring more runs. Against the Twins, the O's got most of their runs via the home run. Adam Jones and Travis Snider went back-to-back in the first inning of that game, plating three runs. Late-game defensive sub Mike Yastrzemski added a solo home run in the eighth inning.
For the winning Orioles, spring training star Jimmy Paredes had a pair of doubles, one of which was good for an RBI. Paredes also committed a fielding error at third base. Seven of the nine O's starters in this game ended up with a hit before it was over. Chris Parmelee had a three-hit game including a ninth inning solo home run. Dariel Alvarez also had a multi-hit game for the winning O's on the road.
In that road game, T.J. McFarland relieved Jimenez. McFarland gave up five hits in two innings of work, allowing one unearned run thanks to the Paredes error. Chaz Roe pitched a scoreless ninth to close out the Jays.
Zach Britton and Darren O'Day each worked an inning in Sarasota, with Britton allowing his first walk of spring. He promptly picked off the runner. O'Day struck out two Jays batters in his inning of work. Minor leaguer Branden Kline pitched a scoreless ninth, although spring training being spring training, radio guys Joe Angel and Fred Manfra were more engaged in a discussion about weird ballpark food items like the $19 Bloody Mary you'll be able to get at Target Field this year.
Apparently it comes with a slice of pizza in the drink and a beer chaser. I wasn't clear on that part. "That double play almost ruined my story," was an actual sentence uttered, an abrupt denouement to a gripping narrative.
The whole team will be together again on Monday. That's actually not true since it's a road game and not everyone will make the trip. Anyway, they're playing the Rays, and shockingly, the game will be on neither TV nor radio in the Baltimore area. If you're an MLB GameDay Audio subscriber, you'll be able to listen to the 1:05 game provided you have a boss who doesn't mind if you are listening to the Orioles
instead of while working.