What’s happening: The Orioles face the Boston Red Sox at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Fla., this afternoon for the second and final game there this spring. The Boston Red Sox will come to Sarasota once more – on March 27 – before the two teams head north.
They face each other for real starting April 11 at Fenway Park, the Orioles’ first road game of the 2017 regular season.
Lefty Wade Miley, who threw 193 2/3 innings for the Red Sox in 2015, starts for the Orioles today, his fifth Grapefruit League appearance. Two have been scoreless; he’s allowed three earned runs each in the other two.
He’s yet to log more than three innings in an outing so far this March. That will be a goal today.
Because Team USA beat the defending World Baseball Classic champions, the Dominican Republic, on Saturday night, the Orioles will soon get two key players back in camp: catcher Welington Castillo and third baseman Manny Machado.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Castillo and Machado, like the other Orioles that participated in the World Baseball Classic, won’t be rushed back into Grapefruit League play. He’ll let the players decide when they want to get back into games, since most have far more at-bats at this point in the spring than they normally would have.
What’s happened: Kevin Gausman is ready for the Opening Day assignment, once it is officially announced, of course.
Facing primarily Detroit Tigers minor leaguers Sunday, Gausman mowed through the lineup. He allowed just two hits and a walk and struck out eight. He became the first Orioles starter to go five innings this spring.
“I think the biggest thing, especially for a starter, is getting up and down five times,” Gausman said. “So that was my goal today, get to my pitch count. Get up and sit down five times. When you can do that, I think (it) can progress you to the next outing.”
Gausman, who said he located his fastball, slider and changeup with little difficulty Sunday, threw 48 of his 78 pitches for strikes. He wants to get to 85 pitches and six innings in his next outing – which would put him on pace to be ready for the regular season. He also wants to test his split-fingered fastball in his next game to see if he can command it for strikes consistently.
“Physically and mentally, I feel like I’m just about there,” Gausman said. “I think with 12 days left in camp, I’ll take that feeling.”
Gausman is expected to make his first Opening Day start with Chris Tillman on the shelf for all of April with right shoulder discomfort. Showalter hasn’t made the Opening Day starter declaration yet, but it’s seemingly a formality.
Tillman was supposed to participate in a long-toss session Wednesday, but that’s been pushed back to Sunday, Showalter said. There’s no setback, it’s just that the club’s medical staff wanted Tillman to wait the requisite 10 days after receiving a cortisone shot before throwing. Sunday will be 10 days after the shot was administered.
The Orioles thinned camp to 46 players, including a total of 12 non-roster invitees, by making four cuts Sunday. Right-hander Jesus Liranzo, who is on the 40-man roster, was optioned to Double-A Bowie. Three non-roster players, outfielder Logan Schafer, first baseman/outfielder David Washington and catcher Austin Wynns, were reassigned to minor league camp. A couple more cuts are expected today.
What’s up with: Trey Mancini. The rookie first baseman is not going to Triple-A Norfolk quietly. He had a RBI double in his first at-bat Sunday against the Tigers and now has eight RBIs in Grapefruit League action. That’s the most on the team. He’s still on the roster bubble and may get squeezed out by speedy outfielders Craig Gentry and Joey Rickard, but he’s doing his best to convince the Orioles he can hit in the majors.
What they’re saying: “It’s not surprising to any of us that get to see them (regularly). It’s great that some of the people that haven’t, get to see it. I don’t know why people don’t see it. You’d have to tell me. We see that every night, it seems like.” Showalter on Adam Jones and Manny Machado getting widespread praise for their play in the World Baseball Classic.
What’s the number? 0 – Sluggers Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo don’t have a homer yet this spring despite having a combined 53 at-bats. They combined for 85 homers during the 2016 regular season.
What’s the record? 12-9-2 – The Orioles lost 7-1 to the Tigers on Sunday before a crowd of 8,105, the third sellout at Ed Smith Stadium this spring. The Orioles have five more home games remaining in Sarasota this month.