With Opening Day now a week away, time is running out for the Orioles to make their last few roster decisions. They already settled at least one when they announced on Thursday morning that they have selected the contract of Matt Harvey. A few more remain to be settled.
Some performances over the final few spring games, including tonight’s, could put someone over the edge in either the right direction or the wrong direction. Rule 5 pitches Mac Sceroler and Tyler Wells, both of whom are scheduled to pitch tonight, are the ones who could probably stand to make a good final impression if this turns out to be their last chance to pitch in an Orioles spring training game.
Manager Brandon Hyde has once again offered the treat of Adley Rutschman in the starting lineup for the rare (for this spring) televised game. This doesn’t feel like a total Opening Day lineup, but it’s got six or seven of the guys who are likely to take the field in Boston in a week’s time:
- Cedric Mullins - CF
- Trey Mancini - 1B
- Ryan Mountcastle - LF
- Maikel Franco - 3B
- Austin Hays - RF
- Freddy Galvis - SS
- Pedro Severino - C
- Adley Rutschman - DH
- Pat Valaika - 2B
Keegan Akin is the starting pitcher, scheduled to be followed by Tanner Scott, Paul Fry, and Shawn Armstrong, as well as Sceroler and Wells. I don’t really know why five pitchers are lined up behind a rotation member for a nine inning game a week away from the start of the season.
Maybe that lineup isn’t so Opening Day after all. It is still unclear how often both Mullins and Hays will start the same games once everything counts. Franco might not quite shake off the rust in time for the start of the season, since he signed so late. So maybe there will only be five guys from this starting lineup in there in the first game.
The results don’t matter yet, but it would be nice to see some good signs from the players who will be headed for the roster, especially against an expected bad team like the Pirates. Also, with the news from elsewhere in the league that White Sox outfielder Eloy Jimenez suffered a torn pectoral muscle while trying to rob a home run, maybe the truly important thing of the final few spring games is that nobody gets hurt.