Good morning, Birdland!
The Orioles were on TV yesterday for the first time this spring. It was nice to see the fellas even if we had to listen to the Pirates announcers, who I’m sure are wonderful during the regular season, but they (understandably) had only a passing familiarity with the Orioles’ roster. It’s just not as fun to listen to another team’s commentary crew when you care most about the guys wearing orange and black.
But we really can’t complain much because at least they put games on TV for the Pirates. We won’t get a MASN broadcast for another week.
As for the action on the field, the Orioles lost 7-4, which isn’t ideal, but there were some important performances. Chief among them was Kyle Bradish, who started on the bump and tossed two perfect innings while striking out two.
That was just about the only good news in the pitching department. Bryan Baker got knocked around (three runs, three hits, two walks, one strikeout) in his inning of work. Michael Baumann struck out three over two innings but also served up a solo homer.
There was more to enjoy from the lineup. Adley Rutschman walked twice. Gunnar Henderson singled and made a nice diving play at third base. Jordan Westburg had the only multi-hit game, including a double. And there was a two-run bomb off the bat of Franchy Cordero.
There isn’t much point to drawing conclusions from spring games, but it’s nice to see Rutschman looking comfortable at the plate, Westburg forcing the issue on the infield, and Bradish cruising through his first outing. The bad inning for Baker isn’t what you want to see from a guy that threw nearly 70 innings out of the bullpen last year, but there’s a month left before the season starts. We’ll worry if he’s still struggling in two weeks.
One final note from this game was the ninth inning that never was. Since the Orioles were the visiting team and they were trailing after the top of the ninth inning, that marked the official end of the game. The umpires left the field, and the box score was closed. But apparently Brandon Hyde wanted to get non-roster pitcher Ofreidy Gómez some work, so he asked the Pirates to play the last half inning. They obliged and O’s catcher Maverick Handley both caught the offerings and called balls and strikes. An oddity that only comes about in the spring.
It’s back to Sarasota this afternoon as the Orioles host the division-rival Blue Jays. Cole Irvin is on the bump, and MLB.com is now saying there will be a radio feed with the Blue Jays announcers if you are interested and able to listen. First pitch is 1:05.
Here are the Orioles’ 2023 Top 30 prospects | MLB.com
It’s interesting to compare this to Pipeline’s list from the end of 2022. There’s no movement at the top, but further down we see a bounceback for Heston Kjerstad (from 9th to 6th) and a noticeable leap from Joey Ortiz (from 16th to 8th). A new name on the list is Luis Almeyda (26th), a 16-year-old shortstop that signed in January for a club-record $2.3 million out of the Dominican Republic.
O’s coach Darren Holmes on vets Cole Irvin and Kyle Gibson | Steve Melewski
You would expect a coach to be nothing other than complimentary to two of his players, and that’s what you get here. The Orioles will be relying on Irvin and Gibson a lot this year, particularly in the early months, so let’s hope the pair can maintain, or even elevate, their performances with other teams last season.
O’s prospect Cowser talks college, creativity and more | Orioles.com
It feels like Cowser’s star has dimmed a bit after a 2022 season that saw him add power and whiffs. But he could bounce right back if he shows growth early on, and that would also earn him a spot in the Orioles outfield by mid-summer.
No umps when Orioles and Pirates play unneeded bottom of ninth | ESPN
It really must have been a slow sports news day, because this was everywhere. Sure, it’s weird, but it’s also the spring. The games don’t count and the rules are adjusted. Innings end with fewer than three outs sometimes.
Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!
- Omar Daal turns 51. The left-handed pitcher wrapped up an 11-year MLB career with 93.1 innings on the 2003 Orioles.
- Larry Brown celebrates his 83rd birthday. An infielder that spent most of his career in Cleveland, Brown had a 17-game stay with the 1973 O’s.
- The late Bert Hamric (b. 1928, d. 1984) was born on this day. He made his way into eight games for the ‘58 Birds.
- Another posthumous birthday for Howie Fox (b. 1921, d. 1955). He pitched in 38 games for the 1954 Orioles.
This day in history
The first day of March has been a slow one in Orioles history, so here are a few things that have happened on this date beyond Birdland:
1692 - The Salem witch trials begin in Massachusetts as three women are brought before local magistrates.
1867 - Nebraska becomes the 37th state.
1893 - Nikola Tesla gives the first public demonstration of radio.
1932 - The son of aviator Charles Lindbergh is kidnapped from his home in New Jersey.
1992 - Bosnia and Herzegovina declares its independence from Yugoslavia.
1998 - Titanic crosses the $1 billon mark in total box office gross revenue, the first film to ever do so.