Elias breaks down Orioles; Akin wild in 4-3 win; Bannon gets a look - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Spring Training

Elias breaks down Orioles; Akin wild in 4-3 win; Bannon gets a look

What’s happening? – Félix Hernández will start for the Orioles against the Pittsburgh Pirates at LECOM Field in Bradenton, Florida at 1:05 pm on Thursday.

In his first start, the veteran right-hander allowed two runs on one hit in two innings, walking two and striking out two on Saturday night against Detroit. His fastball velocity was in the mid-80s.

Hernández will be opposed by Mitch Keller.

Orioles executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias said before Wednesday’s Grapefruit League game that “aspects of the play have been uneven. We’ve had games with terrible defense. We’ve had games with terrible pitching. We’ve had games with good defense and good pitching. The offense has come and gone.

“The important thing is that the competition that we need is here in order to staff this roster, in order to put an interesting group out that will have an opportunity to carry forward our goals and have a competitive team and a team that will continue to develop us into the playoff team that we’re ultimately building towards.

“We’re all still watching that. This is a thick camp. There are a lot of guys here, a lot of pitchers that are being stretched out to length that need innings, and then mixing that with the dynamic of a smaller spring training schedule … It’s been challenging. I think it will continue to be challenging to get the playing time all around and the innings all around that we want just given that we have so much competition and so much uncertainty on our roster right now.”

What happened? Keegan Akin allowed two runs on three hits in 1 2/3 innings as the Orioles beat Toronto Blue Jays, 4-3, in seven innings on Wednesday in Sarasota, Florida.

Akin struck out four and walked three of his first five batters in his first spring start. He followed Matt Harvey in his previous appearance.

“I was trying to aim the ball rather than pitch the ball and throw it,” Akin said. “It was more of a mental thing than anything. To forget that and go back out there and get out of the second inning was my one positive for the day.”

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Manager Brandon Hyde is looking for improvement from Akin.

“His command isn’t there right now,” Hyde said. “I’d like to see him pick it up from that standpoint, but it is only his second appearance. He’s got some more to go. His command isn’t quite the same as it was at the end of the year last year.”

Shortstop Freddy Galvis was 3-for-3 with an RBI as the Orioles won for the first time after four straight losses.

“I think we’re playing OK,” Galvis said. “We have to play better. Like a team, we have to do every little thing to win a game.”

Tyler Nevin had two hits and drove in a run.

Rio Ruiz is out because of illness. Hyde said that he could play in a day or two.

Harvey threw a three-inning simulated game on the Ed Smith Stadium complex back fields. Thomas Eshelman also threw.

“I thought he threw the ball well,” Hyde said of Harvey’s outing. “I thought he had life to his fastball, a shape to his breaking ball. I think he was really happy with it. Threw some good changeups. He’s got a two-seamer now that’s got some nice sink to it. Threw to a handful of our hitters, got three innings in, should be on the mound in game action his next turn.”

What’s up with? Rylan Bannon was put on the 40-man roster last November and the infielder is getting an extended look. 

I want to give Rylan as many at-bats as I can,” Hyde said. “Rylan’s a guy that’s put up some minor league numbers. He missed last year because of the minor league season being canceled, so I just want to give him some looks at third, at second. He’s hit throughout his career.

“I think we’re going to continue to evaluate Rylan as we go along in camp and give him as many at-bats as possible. He’s a strong kid that’s got an opportunity to hit, a chance to hit and has done that in his minor league career. We’ll see if that translates into the big leagues.” 

What’s what? Elias said that the alternate site roster at Bowie will consist mainly of players who would be on the Triple-A roster and could be depth pieces for the Orioles. The exception will be last year’s first-round draft pick Heston Kjerstad, who is recovering from myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle),

The younger prospects who are not in major league spring training will report to Sarasota next month. Last year, it was a mix of Triple-A players and top prospects the team wanted to observe.

“Many of the rookie debuts that we had were platformed off of that Bowie alternate site experience and nothing more, “Elias said. “To see those guys go to summer camp, go to Bowie, some of them for weeks or a month and then come right up and have success against the Yankees the very next day seemed to work … We want to get back into regular minor league play as soon as possible.”

What’s the word? “Certain players need failure, different types of failure. They need game experience. They need to face unpredictable, different competition on different nights. They need to get used to the professional game, whatever that may be. We’ve all kind of been accustomed to what minor league baseball provides in terms of rearing these guys for big-leaguers and also showing us who are the big-leaguers and who aren’t … 2021 is not going to be the same as 2019, but it’s going to be better than 2020.”–Elias on the advantages of the minor leagues

What’s the number? 40-50. Elias said that’s the average number of competitive innings Oriole pitchers threw at the alternate site last year.

What’s the record?  3-6-1. The Orioles visit the Pittsburgh Pirates in Bradenton at 1:05 pm. The game will be available through MLB.TV on Pirates TV and radio.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. CalsPals

    March 11, 2021 at 8:01 am

    Hopefully they can beat (according to) MLB site the “worste” team in baseball after losing twice & getting rocked the last game…time to start picking it up…go O’s…

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      March 11, 2021 at 9:53 am

      To be the worste you have to beat the worste. …. or something like that.

  2. Orial

    March 11, 2021 at 8:34 am

    Oh that poisonous 1st inning continues to haunt the starters. Let’s try a new approach–Sulser,Tate,Armstrong become 1st inning pitchers. Only kidding(maybe). Akin pitching himself to Norfolk. AGAIN–where’s the Cavalry? Hyde quote— “we’ve had games with terrible fielding,we’ve had games with terrible pitching,games where the offense hasn’t shown up”. Yes we’ve noticed that also. Our patience is running thin too. Now we’re gonna have crowds back at the park. The pressure will REALLY be on then. The future is bright(I think) but the clock is ticking.

    • Rich Dubroff

      March 11, 2021 at 8:40 am

      That quote you’re paraphrasing is from Mike Elias.

    • BrooksPJs

      March 11, 2021 at 9:38 am

      No runs allowed in the first inning on Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday Orioles games…

  3. Bman

    March 11, 2021 at 8:51 am

    Means, Kremer, Hernandez, Akin, Lopez, Harvey, Zimmerman all go north? Maybe, depending on how the next few weeks go. Lopez and Zimmerman are a lock either in rotation or long relief. Akin faltering? Back to the shuttle bus?

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      March 11, 2021 at 10:44 am

      Akin is just a guy. Don’t know why everybody got so excited about him last year.

  4. Tony Paparella

    March 11, 2021 at 9:06 am

    It is still very early but no one is really setting the world on fire yet as I believe done of us are hoping for. Hernandez and Matt Harvey will not be blowing anyone away, I think we all can agree on that. They will have to pitch with savvy and from experience to be an asset. Sounds like Elias is somewhat committed to Felix making the trip north of I am reading his words correctly.To be honest I would like to see him and Harvey get another chance even if it does not work out. I have the same optimism as Elias and Hyde on them but it is more of a finger crossed kind of optimism if you know what I’m saying. Offensively no one catching my eye out side of Mullins who is starting to win me over though he still has an awful lot to prove. A lot of good words on Bannon so I say get him in the lineup as much as possible. Right now everybody and their brother is playing but I hope they get to the meat of the team a little sooner do they can be ready when the season starts. I also would like to see Diaz getting more reps. You can almost tell the way Hyde is playing guys as to who will be where when the season starts. I am hoping a Diaz, or a Bannon, maybe even shines, will get a chance to start the season with the team. Also going to mention Sulser is pitching well, but some of our other stud prospects are not impressing as of yet.But Zimmerman the only other guy looking pretty good. Hope that continues snd some of the others start getting up to snuff or up to their potential. I think a lot of the pieces are here fir the future and it all has to be sorted out. Hope we can all stay patient but it is hard being an Oriole fan sometimes . Did I say sometimes? LOL

    • CalsPals

      March 11, 2021 at 9:34 am

      Well said Tony….go O’s…

    • Rich Dubroff

      March 11, 2021 at 11:51 am

      Tony, Diaz will not begin the season with the Orioles.

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