FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Orioles lost today for the fifth time in seven exhibition games, falling 2-1 to the Twins at Hammond Stadium.
The pitching wasn’t an issue, though Ubaldo Jimenez walked three batters and threw 57 pitches in two-plus innings. The Orioles were held to one run on Jimmy Paredes’ RBI single in the fifth that scored Ryan Lavarnway.
The Orioles outhit the Twins 7-4 - all singles - but they stranded seven runners. Paredes had two hits and Lavarnway, Ryan Flaherty, Travis Snider, Nolan Reimold and Chris Parmelee each had one.
“Nolan had some good at-bats today,” said manager Buck Showalter. “Jon (Schoop), too, had the most consistent at-bats. He seems to make a play every game.”
Showalter saw some improvement in Jimenez from the right-hander’s exhibition debut in Lakeland. Jimenez allowed only one run and he struck out the side in the second.
“A little better, a little better,” he said. “Getting there. The second inning was really good.”
Showalter was asked about Jimenez making another slight adjustment to his delivery.
“Some of it is just a continuation of what he was doing September last year, some of August,” Showalter said. “Little by little. It’s nothing drastic, but it’s something that’s different for him, and when you’ve been pitching as long as he has, just trying to give him some things so he can be a little more consistent.”
Jimenez said his goal is to get on the mound and not be challenged to remember what he needs to do mechanically. Is he thinking too much out there?
“I don’t know,” Showalter said. “Do you want him to think less? It depends how you look at it. If it gets in the way. But why is it? He wants to do well.
“He was better this time than last time out and we hope he can take it and go with it. First batter was what, a four-pitch walk? Then he settled in and pitched OK after that. If you care a lot, you are going to grind it and think about things, but when you get out there between the lines... Hopefully, it’s a building point and go from there. But it was better.”
The second inning reminded the Orioles that Jimenez is capable of being a dominant pitcher.
“It’s about consistent command,” Showalter said. “One of the things about last year and this year is that he doesn’t get cuffed up a lot. It’s not a matter of trusting stuff, it’s just a matter of delivery and getting the ball where he needs to get the count in his favor.”
Showalter hasn’t talked to catcher Caleb Joseph, who became a father last night for the first time. Joseph may rejoin the team in the morning.
“I’m going to wait and see and not jump to any conclusions,” Showalter said. “I know if it is at all possible and he feels comfortable, he’ll probably be there tomorrow.”