Good teams can have bad spring trainings and bad teams can have good ones. That's the kind of stuff you want to tell yourself after the Orioles lose to the Blue Jays by a 5-4 margin. A game like this in the regular season, lost after a late throwing error by Steve Johnson on a ball that might have been a double play ball and instead scored the go-ahead run, would have brought about a lot of rage. Since it's the Grapefruit League, whatever.
The true most important goal for spring training is for no one to get hurt. That's especially true on a day where the game's start was delayed by nearly two hours due to rain in Dunedin. Nobody slip on a wet field! Five games in to the schedule, the Orioles are successful in this way. Knock on wood. I just did, don't worry.
Otherwise a good result is nice, but how many games in the regular season do you think will have the trio of Chris Parmelee, J.P. Arencibia, and Jayson Nix all in the starting lineup? Even if it was the full team of regulars, it's a month away from Opening Day, and it wasn't the full team of regulars.
The O's faced an early hole in Friday's game. In the second inning, Mike Wright allowed a home run to 2014's April and May darling, Chris Colabello. Kevin Pillar was on base ahead of him. The Blue Jays led 2-0 after two. In Wright's couple of innings of work, he gave up two runs on four hits, including the homer, and struck out two. At least he didn't walk anybody.
Another O's minor league pitcher, Tim Berry, came into the game in the third. Berry did walk people, and also hit a batter. That is a rough inning. The hit batsman came with the bases loaded and brought the third Jays run of the game across the plate.
Orioles batters went hitless for the first four innings of the game. Two of these were pitched by knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, while the other two were pitched by Drew Hutchison, who at times seems like his MLB career might be singlehandedly prolonged by his dominance of the Orioles. Even in spring they do nothing against him.
The O's got on board in the fifth inning against Liam Hendriks with a little rally of their own. David Lough walked with one out and was driven home by Ryan Flaherty. In the box score it was only a two-out single for Flaherty but somehow Lough scored. That's actually ridiculous. Maybe that's one of those spring training GameDay glitches. At any rate, Flaherty was still on base for a home run off the bat of Alejandro De Aza, tying the game up for the moment.
It was the O's who broke the tie the next inning. Two consecutive singles to lead off the inning by Parmelee and Travis Snider ended up giving the O's men on first and third with only one out. Urrutia drove in Parmelee from third with a sacrifice fly. Sure, they might have gotten more, but get the man in from third with less than two out and you've done your job.
That lead did not last for long. An RBI triple off the bat of Ryan Goins scored Dwight Smith in the bottom of the sixth. Whenever you see a triple in the box score you have to wonder if something weird happened. Maybe Goins is just fast. Nothing to do but wonder since the game was not televised.
It was something of a tough luck run against Logan Verrett as the first runner only reached base on an infield single. That's life. Verrett tossed two innings on the day and has now allowed just this one run in four spring innings. Not a bad beginning of an audition for the Rule 5 pick. In the inning where he allowed the run, he also struck out three batters.
The score after this was 4-4. The tie held until the bottom of the eighth. Steve Johnson, making his spring debut, walked Dickerson to lead off the inning. Smith then hit a single to left field. The left fielder at this moment was Jimmy Paredes, which is another thing that will probably not often occur in the regular season.
Might a real outfielder have caught it? Perhaps. You still have to make the play in response. Johnson got what may have been a double play ball from Devon Travis, but after a double clutch he threw the ball away, allowing Dickerson to score and not getting any outs. This play put the O's down 5-4 and since it came in the bottom of the eighth they were already down to their final three outs.
They did not threaten much in the ninth, with one lone hit coming on a single by Glynn Davis. I mention Davis mostly because he is a perennial favorite of mine since he, like me, attended the Community College of Baltimore County in Catonsville. Sometimes minor leaguers who don't have big league camp invites get brought along for the ride on spring road trips. He got into this game and got a hit.
Sure, it's not the big leagues yet, but it's still got to be cool, especially for a local kid, to get a hit while wearing a real Orioles uniform.
Next up for the O's is another division opponent on Saturday afternoon. The Red Sox are coming in to Sarasota for a 1:05 game. That probably means so are their fans. The game will not be televised but it will be on the radio on 105.7 FM if you are able to listen to it.