Late February always fills baseball fans with anticipation, and it is doing so again. But this year it’s different.
This year we aren’t taking spring games for granted.
As of this writing, the Orioles’ exhibition and regular seasons are scheduled to take place on time, and fully. Assuming that doesn’t change, this will be our last Throwback Thursday until October.
“Orioles Classics” closes out February 2021 with plenty of clutch hitting from the Birds in games from the past eight years. What better appetizer could you have for the live baseball you crave?
Thursday, Feb. 25 - 9 a.m. - The 2014 season was pretty sweet, and Nelson Cruz had a lot to do with that. On Sept. 7, Cruz homered twice and tripled, driving in seven runs as the Orioles beat the Rays 7-5 in 11 innings at the Trop.
Thursday, Feb. 25 - 11 p.m. - Chris Davis did double-dinger duty on May 29, 2013 to power the Birds’ 9-6 victory over the Nationals at Camden Yards. The Nats’ Ryan Zimmerman homered three times, but Davis’ two-run shot capped a six-run seventh that put the O’s on top to stay.
Friday, Feb. 26 - 8 p.m. - The Red Sox had plated the automatic runner (Alex Verdugo) who started the top of the 10th at second base, and the O’s trailed 4-3. Rio Ruiz stood on second as the home half opened on Aug. 22, 2020. Cedric Mullins bunted him over but also reached safely himself. Matt Barnes’ wild pitch brought Ruiz home with the tying run and put Mullins in scoring position. Pedro Severino’s single to center gave the Orioles a 5-4 escape.
Saturday, Feb. 27 - 11 p.m. - Starting pitchers Kevin Gausman and Marco Estrada each bent but neither broke when the Orioles hosted the Blue Jays on opening day 2017. Both bullpens held through regulation with the score tied 2-2. Jays right-hander Jason Grilli seemed headed for an uneventful 11th, first retiring Manny Machado on a popup and then striking out Davis. He had Mark Trumbo down in the count 1-2 when Trumbo connected to give the Birds a 1-0 record in walk-off fashion.
Monday, March 1 - 6 p.m. - On June 7 of his rookie season of 2017, Trey Mancini entered the game as a pinch-hitter against Pirates lefty Tony Watson in the ninth and hit a two-run homer that would send the game to extras. Staying in the game to play left field, Mancini hit a three-run shot in his next at-bat for a walk-off 9-6 O’s triumph in 11 innings.
Tuesday, March 2 - 2:30 p.m. - The Athletics might’ve wished they’d stayed in bed on Aug. 16, 2015. Four different Orioles had three-RBI days in an 18-2 demolition of A’s pitching at Camden Yards, and catcher Caleb Joseph did them each one better, driving in four over a 3-for-4 performance.
Wednesday, March 3 - 7 p.m. - Down two runs in the ninth, Machado slammed the Orioles to a walk-off victory over the Angels on Aug. 18, 2017. He’d finish the day with seven RBIs, and the O’s would win 9-7.