What’s happening? –Former Cy Young Award winner Félix Hernández will make his first start as an Oriole against the Detroit Tigers at Ed Smith Stadium at 6:05 pm on Saturday. It’s the Orioles’ first night game of spring training.
With Opening Day less than a month away, manager Brandon Hyde said he doesn’t think Triple-A is a prerequisite for playing in the major leagues. Oriole prospects Yusniel Diaz, Mike Baumann, Zac Lowther and Alexander Wells didn’t get to play in Triple-A in 2020 because the minor league season was canceled.
“It’s a finishing level,” Hyde said. “It depends, player to player. I think guys can skip Triple-A. I’ve seen guys have successful major league careers that have skipped Triple-A, and I’ve seen guys that have had two or three years in Triple-A, and needed it, and gone on to have nice careers. I think it’s player specific on whether they need it or not.”
What happened? Matt Harvey allowed three runs on four hits in two innings as the Orioles lost to the Toronto Blue Jays, 13-4 on Friday in eight innings at TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Florida. It was the veteran right-hander’s first start of the spring.
“It was obviously a rough first inning,” Harvey said. “I’ve faced a lot of those guys that were in their lineup, and knowing that they were going to come out swinging, I think they know that I throw a lot of strikes and pound the zone.
“Having to make that adjustment a little bit earlier was something that I should have done. Today, especially, I was babying the offspeed a little bit, and that’s what hurt me. I didn’t give up really much on the fastball, and got some weak contact. For me, that’s a good sign. For a first outing and getting that out of the way and realizing that I really have to go out and throw my offspeed like I did my fastball, then things will start falling in the right direction.”
Harvey, who is on a minor league contract, said he viewed Friday’s outing as a good sign.
“It’s been so long that I’ve been able to really feel comfortable throwing even my fastball that today was a big step in the right direction.” he said. “I’m not happy with the results today by any means. Every start matters in my mind … Being able to pinpoint what the mistakes were is something I’ll work on this week and hopefully fix by next start.”
Keegan Akin allowed a run on a hit in two innings, walked two and struck out two.
Paul Fry had his second straight rough outing, allowing three runs on three hits in the fifth inning. Rule 5 pitchers Tyler Wells (a run in the seventh) and Mac Sceroler (five in the eighth) allowed the final Blue Jay runs.
Ryan Mountcastle hit a two-run home run. Pat Valaika also homered.
“Going into that at-bat, I’ve been letting some good pitches go early in the count,” Mountcastle said. “I thought I’d be a little more aggressive that at-bat. I took a good swing on a first-pitch heater.”
Hyde was pleased with Mountcastle’s approach on the home run.
“He’s been coming around it, hitting some choppers to the left side,” he said. “Beautiful swing and a long home run to left field. Nice adjustment by Ryan. He’s been a little bit off. He’s still taking good swings and he squared one up.”
DJ Stewart suffered a hamstring injury and left the game in the third inning. Hyde doesn’t think it’s serious.
What’s up with? Tyler Wells and Mac Sceroler. The Orioles’ two Rule 5 picks had difficult days. Wells allowed a run on two hits in the seventh, and Sceroler retired only one batter in the eighth and gave up five runs on a two-run home run by Riley Adams and a three-run homer by Josh Palacios.
“I thought Tyler Wells had nice velocity,” Hyde said. “On the board, it was 95. I thought he was throwing hard. I thought both guys had a little trouble with their secondary stuff.
“Sceroler was pitching behind the count most of that inning, which is not easy to do and gave up some hard contact. Still had good stuff. Just not enough strikes.”
What’s what? It seems unlikely that Sceroler or Wells will make the Orioles’ pitching staff. If the Orioles want to add players who are on minor league contracts, including Harvey, Hernández and Wade LeBlanc, they’ll have to create 40-man roster space, and the Rule 5 picks seem to be likely deletions.
What’s the word? “Spring training is probably the toughest outfield you’re going to play, whether it’s the sun or the wind down here in Florida.”-Mountcastle on his outfield play in spring training.
What’s the number? 6. Fry has allowed six earned runs in two innings this spring. That equals the number he gave up in 22 innings last season.
What’s the record? 2-3-1.The Orioles face Detroit in Sarasota on Saturday. The game can be heard on 105.7 The Fan and the Orioles Radio Network.
Call for questions: I’ll be answering your Orioles’ questions early next week. You can leave your questions in the comments or email them to: [email protected].