Davis homers for third time in four games; Akin gets first start; Orioles win fourth straight - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Spring Training

Davis homers for third time in four games; Akin gets first start; Orioles win fourth straight

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

SARASOTA, Florida-What’s happening? – John Means will start against the Philadelphia Phillies at Spectrum Field in Clearwater on Sunday at 1:05 p.m.

It will be Means’ second start this spring. He allowed two runs on three hits in 1 1/3 innings in a 15-2 loss to Tampa Bay on Tuesday.

While Means pitches in Clearwater, Alex Cobb, who felt ill during his start against the Phillies on Monday, will throw a simulated game on a back field of Ed Smith Stadium. Cobb is one of a number of Orioles who have been ill this spring.

“He’s feeling fine,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “I just want … to get his pitch count up  in a controlled environment, [and] not to worry about game situations. We’ll put him in game situations on the back field.”

Brady Rodgers (sore arm), Kohl Stewart (sore biceps) and Alex Wells (sore oblique) threw on a back field on Saturday. According to Hyde, there’s still enough time for Rodgers, who’s on a minor league contract, and Stewart, who was signed as a major league free agent, to make the team.

“They’ve missed some time now, so that’s obviously not ideal,” Hyde said. “There is still time. We’ve still got a few weeks to go. Hopefully, we can get them ramped up, and we’ll see how it goes. I can’t really forecast anything there.”

Opening Day, March 26, is less than a month away, and Hyde doesn’t think the Orioles will sign another free-agent pitcher in time to start the season.

“It’s getting more challenging as we get closer,” Hyde said. “I think we’re always going to think player-first, what’s best for the player. If we sacrifice some time to make sure they’re right, we’ll always do that.”

What’s happened?—Chris Davis homered for the third time in four games, and the Orioles won their fourth straight, 12-6, over the Miami Marlins before 5,734 at  Ed Smith Stadium on Saturday.

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Keegan Akin started for the first time this spring, allowing a run on two hits with a strikeout.

Akin pitched in relief in his first appearance. He feels better as a starter.

“I’ve started, basically, my whole career,” Akin said. “I’ve had a couple of  u bullpen appearances in pro ball. I would like to be able to do both, just so I can do that in the future. It’s a little bit different routine coming out of the bullpen. It’s much easier for me to start. It’s what I’ve been doing since I was 16, 17.

“To get back to starting was good, I thought.”

Davis’ home run was a three-run shot on a 2-0 pitch. He also walked and struck out. He’s batting .714 (5-for-7) this spring with four walks.

“I would like to get off to a good start, especially for peace of mind,” Davis said. “Especially after struggling the last couple of years, having some success on the baseball field feels good.

“It’s still spring training. It’s still early. There are a lot of things that I have to accomplish, a lot of things I still need to work on. At the same time, it feels good.”

He doesn’t think home runs in Grapefruit League games are meaningless.

“Not wasted, not at all,” Davis said. “I’ll take them in exhibitions, spring training, winter ball, whenever.”

Catcher Pedro Severino and infielder Richard Urena also homered for the Orioles.

Non-roster left-hander Rob Zastryzny allowed four runs on six hits in two innings.

Victor Victor Mesa, the Cuban outfielder the Orioles tried to sign in October 2018, played four innings in center field and struck out in his only at-bat.

What’s up with Martin Cervenka? Cervenka, who is from the Czech Republic, is a catcher in his third year in the Orioles organization. He and outfielder Yusniel Diaz are the only players to receive invitations to spring training for the second consecutive season.

“I feel a little more comfortable with everyone in the clubhouse,” Cervenka said. “Coming in, I knew what to expect more than last year. That’s the probably the two biggest differences.”

Cervenka homered on Thursday with his parents and sister watching. He isn’t related to Hunter Cervenka, a left-handed, non-roster reliever. Martin says he’s asked if the Cervenkas are related once or twice a year.

“It was interesting because I knew about Hunter before because I knew he pitched in the big leagues. I never followed him, but a couple of fans asked if we were related. It’s funny that two Cervenkas end up on the same team.”

What’s what? –Hyde said that every position player will make the trip from Sarasota to West Palm Beach and Jupiter for games against the Washington Nationals and Marlins on Tuesday and Wednesday.

But not all will stay for both games. Some position players will play against the Nationals, and then return to Sarasota.

What’s the word? –“I feel like I’m seeing the ball well. I feel like I’m ready to hit every pitch and laying off some pitches that are tough.”-Davis on his hot start. 

What’s the number? 36. That’s how many runs the Orioles have scored in the past three games.

What’s the record? 5-4. The Orioles, who have won four straight since losing both ends of a split-squad doubleheader on Tuesday, play the Phillies at Clearwater at 1:05 p.m. The game will be broadcast on 105.7 The Fan.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. 33d St

    March 1, 2020 at 7:27 am

    Hey this is fun! I don’t care if it’s only February, means nothing, and won’t last. Wins are wins. There will be plenty of time for reality to set in later. For now it’s just fun to hear some runs get scored again, and that the hay is in the barn, we put this one in the win column, ain’t the beer cold, go to war Miss Agnes!

  2. Frank Howard LF-1B

    March 1, 2020 at 8:02 am

    All will be forgiven with Chris Davis if he sustains improvement into the regular season. The “strengthening” off-season routine is authentic and verifiable. Nolan Ryan was perpetually strengthening his massive legs to renew and perfect his delivery, and the results over 27 seasons showed this. Both Peter Bondra and Alex Ovechkin overcame substandard years by increasing strength during rigorous off-season workout programs. Lots of successful athletes turn to strengthening to “turn it around.” I say, Why Not? Let Davis hit .240 but give us 35 hr and 95 rbi, and the Orioles could actually be a tough out this season.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      March 1, 2020 at 8:38 am

      All great thoughts regarding Davis’ “strengthening” routine, but I don’t believe his problem was ever in his biceps, but in his head. Here’s to hoping that he’s figured things out and can obtain that .240/35 line you’re talking about, although I’d prefer .240/50.

      Do you believe in miracles?

      • Rich Dubroff

        March 1, 2020 at 10:53 am

        Glad you read a Twitter post, Ken.

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          March 1, 2020 at 12:29 pm

          Sorry Rich, not sure what you’re referring to. I’m not a twitter guy.

    • CalsPals

      March 1, 2020 at 9:29 am

      Miracle on grass…lol…go O’s…

    • Birdman

      March 1, 2020 at 1:59 pm

      Never mind .240 and 35 HR, after the past couple of seasons, I’d settle for .220 and 25 HR from Crush.

    • dlgruber1

      March 1, 2020 at 9:03 pm

      BRR, I couldn’t agree with you more. I’ve been saying for 3 years now his problem is 100% mental. Not 99%, 100%. He has put so much pressure on himself to live up to and to justify that contract that it’s, pardon the pun, crushing him. He may not admit it, but he doesn’t have to.

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