This spring training is the best one ever for listening to Orioles games. Chances to actually see them have still been rare. Since the O’s are in their spring home and playing the Red Sox on this Friday afternoon, the powers that be have deemed it actually worth putting the game onto your television screen.
Maybe one reason that the team isn’t in a rush to put a whole lot of spring games onto MASN is the simple fact that a lot of the lineups are going to look like this one from today:
- Cedric Mullins - CF
- Trey Mancini - LF
- DJ Stewart - RF
- Renato Núñez - 1B
- Hanser Alberto - 3B
- Jesus Sucre - C
- Jace Peterson - 2B
- Richie Martin - SS
- Drew Jackson - DH
Andrew Cashner is the starting pitcher for today, with Nate Karns, Gabriel Ynoa, Sean Gilmartin, and Josh Lucas all expected to pitch behind him. If you were wanting to get a look at any of the young pitchers who are vying for rotation spots, or even any of the younger pitchers who may be vying for bullpen spots, today is not your day.
According to the pre-game chatter, Karns will be limited to one inning today. That seems to make certain that he’s ticketed for the Opening Day bullpen.
After delays getting his visa pushed back his arrival in camp, this is the first game that Sucre will appear in. I have a feeling that the regular status updates on Sucre early on in camp were more a result of “there’s nothing else to talk about” than “this guy might actually make the team,” but I don’t really know.
It’s not exciting to sit here in 2019 and look at any lineup that features Mancini in the outfield. Manager Brandon Hyde said earlier in the week that he’s not going to start putting together Opening Day-ish lineups until next week, so it’s probably not worth worrying (yet) that the Orioles have Mancini out there.
This is my personal hope for this year’s Orioles: If I have to watch another bad team, at least give me the idea that I am watching a bad team that’s trying, with the personnel available, to address some of the major deficiencies about last year’s team. Put the young and possibly interesting guys in the outfield rather than veteran retreads or first basemen being stuck out there like Mancini and Mark Trumbo. That’s really it.
Some other questions that won’t be answered by today’s results, though today’s results will nonetheless have a strong pull on our feelings about the eventual answer:
Is Cedric Mullins still ticketed for the Opening Day center field job? (He hasn’t hit well this spring.)
Are the Orioles going to keep both of the Rule 5 players, Richie Martin and Drew Jackson? (Martin feels like a lock, Jackson, maybe not.)
Does Renato Núñez hit well enough to find a place on this year’s roster? (I don’t think he has enough defensive value, and I think 1B/DH is a logjam unless both Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo open the season on the injured list.)
And not related to today’s game, but still a matter of curiosity: Will there be any update about Davis getting an MRI today?