The first exhibition game won’t be remembered for the three errors and the five walks issued by Orioles pitching in the first five innings. The high pitch counts that prompted manager Brandon Hyde to pull his team off the field before the last out.
Hyde wasn’t happy about any of it, but he didn’t lose his perspective while the Orioles lost to the Pirates.
Openers have a tendency to get ugly, and Trey Mancini’s return from colon cancer and his first at-bats in a year - in front of actual fans, no less - ruled the day.
What else was good?
Yusniel Diaz has big-time power and his home run off former Orioles pitcher Carson Fulmer threatened to take down the Boog’s Barbeque stand beyond the left field fence.
The wind can carry a baseball down in Florida. Diaz doesn’t collect many cheapies.
The Orioles will assign Diaz to Triple-A Norfolk after moving him around the outfield in spring training. He started in left yesterday, but is the right fit in right, with Ryan Mountcastle planted in left and Cedric Mullins and Austin Hays available in center.
Anthony Santander is the current right fielder. The Orioles must figure out how they’re going to create room for Diaz if he’s healthy and mashing Triple-A pitching.
Three longshots to make the club, but throwing strikes is going to get you noticed and endear you to the manager.
The Orioles were 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position. Doesn’t belong in the “good” pile.
Ryan Ripken is in his first major league camp and struck out twice after replacing Mancini.
Ripken’s grandmother, Vi, passed away Friday, a day before her 83rd birthday. The family work ethic left no doubt that he would play.
It isn’t just the media that lumps together the Rule 5 guys.
Jorge López gets the start as he tries to stay in the rotation or earn a job in long relief, since he’s out of options and can’t be sent down without clearing waivers. Hyde is going to need multiple swingman types in the bullpen to provide length.
The Phillies are countering with right-hander Aaron Nola, who’s 58-40 with a 3.47 ERA and a 1.164 WHIP in 139 career starts.
Hyde isn’t starting players in back-to-back games this early in camp, so you probably can expect Chance Sisco to catch, Rio Ruiz to play third base and Hays to handle center field. Perhaps Mountcastle starts in left.
Depends how many starters Hyde wants on the bus.
Pat Valaika could be the shortstop or second baseman.
Jahmai Jones came off the bench yesterday and went 0-for-2, his double play grounder ending the game, so I don’t know if that keeps him available today.