Happy Monday, Camden Chatters! It was a big sports weekend with March Madness and the World Baseball Classic in full swing, putting spring training in the back of some people’s minds. But not mine! Because it’s my job.
But first, let’s talk World Baseball Classic. The tournament is nearing its exciting conclusion and just one Oriole will make it to the final. USA eliminated Venezuela (and Anthony Santander) on Saturday, then came right back on Sunday and trounced Cuba 14-2 to secure their place in the finale on Tuesday. They’ll play the winner of tonight’s Mexico-Japan game.
Cedric Mullins hasn’t gotten much playing time in the tournament, but he did get into last night’s blowout and hit a home run! Love to see it. He’s too good to be a bench player. He’s also happy to jump in the middle of team selfies. Hopefully, he can get into the final and make a difference.
An iconic selfie— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) March 20, 2023
(via @LasMayores) pic.twitter.com/vcRaItPyTk
Enough WBC, let’s talk spring training. On Saturday, Grayson Rodriguez had a rough go of things. Mark summed it up well in yesterday’s Bird Droppings. We don’t want to be concerned and we understand logically that the results don’t matter. But still, it would be easier to have peace of mind if he just stopped having troubles.
Yesterday, the Orioles played split-squad games against the Pirates (at home) and Yankees (on the road). They won both! That’s fun.
At the home game, starting pitcher Kyle Gibson had a very nice day in the team’s 8-0 win. He pitched five scoreless innings with seven strikeouts and just three hits allowed. He’s the first starter to go five innings and he has allowed just two runs over 11 innings so far this spring.
On offense, both Adley Rutschman and Heston Kjerstad went deep. Everyone expects Adley to be awesome but it’s been so nice seeing how well Kjerstad has played. I look forward to reading about him in the minor league recaps this year! The slow-starting Gunnar Henderson reached base twice in the game, as did roster hopeful Nomar Mazara.
Over at the road game, the Orioles defeated the Yankees. Tyler Wells gave up a run in 3.2 innings pitched, and the smoking-hot Franchy Cordero picked up two more hits. Could he actually make the team? Fellow fringe hopeful Ryan O’Hearn was hitless in the game.
Today the Orioles play the Phillies at 1:05 and if you have MLB.tv (or live in Philly) you can watch the game via the Phillies feed. Per Roch Kubatko, DL Hall will make his spring debut either today or tomorrow, so stay tuned for that!
Camden Chat’s 2023 Orioles pre-season contest - Camden Chat
Don't forget to enter the pre-season contest! I promise it's fun. So far we have 108 entries.
Ryan O’Hearn, healthy again, continues push for roster spot with Orioles - The Baltimore Banner
Ryan O'Hearn is one of the many players hoping to make the roster. He's in the best shape! Except for that knee issue.
Kyle Gibson making case to be Orioles' Opening Day starter - MLB.com
I just don't love this idea. I know he's the veteran, but I like the idea of it being a guy who was on the team last year. I'm talking about Dean Kremer.
Orioles observations on more homers from Adley Rutschman and Heston Kjerstad, open bullpen spots, injury updates and more – Baltimore Sun
Jacob Meyer has the spring roundup including how awesome both Rutschman and Kjerstad are. I love that!
Gibson tosses five scoreless innings with adjusted delivery, Rutschman and Kjerstad homer - MASN Sports
Lotta Kyle Gibson love on the internet right now.
Birthdays and History
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You have four Orioles birthday buddies, most notably Chris Hoiles. Hoiles, who turns 58 today, spent his entire 10-year career with the Orioles. He was a heck of a player when he was in the lineup. But he struggled with injuries that cut his seasons and career short. He was a great Oriole, named the 23rd best Oriole here at Camden Chat in 2020.
Also born on this date are Manny Alexander (52), Mike Young (64), and Paul Mirabella (69). Alexander was supposed to be the guy who replaced Cal Ripken at shortstop but it didn’t really work out. Young manned the outfield for the Orioles from 1983-87, and Mirabella had pitched three games for the Orioles in 1983.
On this day in 1995, the Orioles canceled the remainder of their spring training games rather than use replacement players with the major league players on strike.