Orioles scratch Mountcastle; Kremer makes progress; Lowther shows promise - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Spring Training

Orioles scratch Mountcastle; Kremer makes progress; Lowther shows promise

What’s happening? – Keegan Akin will start for the Orioles against the Pittsburgh Pirates at 6:05 p.m. on Thursday at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida.

Akin has allowed four runs on seven hits in 6 2/3 innings for a 5.40 ERA. He’s struck out 11 and walked five. He’ll be opposed by Pittsburgh’s Sean Poppen.

Ryan Mountcastle was in the original lineup Wednesday, but was later scratched.

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“It’s a non-physical injury,” manager Brandon Hyde said after the game. “It’s something I can’t disclose right now. Hopefully, he’s out there [Thursday].”

Hyde said he has not told any players they’ve made the team.

“Our pitching situation is very much in flux,” Hyde said. “There’s still a lot of questions to be answered. I don’t know if we’re going to have a five- or six-man [rotation]. I don’t know if we’re going to have 13 or 14 [pitchers]. We haven’t made those decisions yet.

Hyde said before Wednesday night’s game that he wants Akin and Dean Kremer, who pitched well against the Red Sox, to show more control.

“They had a few starts last year where they proved that they can pitch in the big leagues and they can pitch in our division,” Hyde said.

“They just haven’t shown that command this spring. They’re both going to get opportunities this last week to harness that command and be the pitchers that we feel that they are. It is spring training, also. Both guys have been working on things, but I’d like to see the fastball there. I’d like to see the fastball aggressiveness in the strike zone.”

Longtime Orioles broadcaster Jim Hunter has joined Maryland Public Television as a host for its pledge programming. Hunter, who called games from 1997-2019, will also be a voiceover narrator for the station.

Oriole fans in Washington can listen to games this season on ESPN 630. The station and the Orioles signed a multi-year agreement.

MASN announced an agreement with Cox, enabling viewers to continue to receive Oriole games.

What happened? Kremer allowed two runs — a two-run homer to Hunter Renfroe in the third — in in 4 2/3 innings as the Orioles lost to the Boston Red Sox, 2-0, at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Florida on Wednesday night.

Boston had five hits. Kremer struck out five and walked one.

“Slowly but surely, I’m starting to execute more and more and get a better feel for all my stuff,” Kremer said.

Kremer could have a final start on Monday before the Orioles leave Florida.

“It definitely had its ups and downs,” Kremer said of spring training. “For the most part, I think I’ve accomplished what I came here to do, just get a better feel for my stuff and try to make a spot on this roster.”

Nathan Eovaldi pitched 5 2/3 shutout innings against the Orioles. He gave up four hits and a walk. The Orioles did not reach base in 3 1/3 innings against three Red Sox relievers.

“We saw major league pitching tonight,” Hyde said. “Eovaldi was really good. We know him very well from the past couple of years. He was throwing 100 with a cutter, tough to hit, so that was more of a major league baseball game from a pitching standpoint.

“I thought Dean threw the ball extremely well. I was really excited and happy with the amount of strikes that he threw. He was landing breaking balls. I thought he was more aggressive with his fastball in the strike zone, some put-away breaking balls as well. The one blip with the leadoff walk and the two-run home run to Renfroe. Besides that, I thought he threw an outstanding ballgame.”

Zac Lowther pitched three spotless innings.

“That was the first time I’ve really seen him for an extended period in game action, and I thought he really threw the ball well,” Hyde said. “He came in in a really tough spot, got a nice double play ground ball with one out with the bases loaded, threw two really good innings after that.

“I liked the way he commanded his fastball, attacked hitters, threw changeups for strikes. I like the amount of changeups he threw. He went out there without fear and attacked their hitters.”

What’s up with? Mac Sceroler is one of two Rule 5 picks attempting to make the Orioles. Sceroler, the nephew of Orioles’ broadcaster and former pitcher Ben McDonald, was drafted from the Cincinnati Reds.

Sceroler has had three good outings with four scoreless innings and one bad one. On March 5th  against the Toronto Blue Jays, he retired just one batter while allowing five runs on three hits and two walks.

“Every guy in this clubhouse is super helpful and friendly, man,” Sceroler said. “In terms of helping each other out, whether or not we’re competing for the same position, everybody is offering their help to us, which I find really cool.”

What’s the word? “All our pitching question marks are going to be something we’re focusing heavily on this last week, and we’re going to come up the best decisions to give ourselves the best chance to win as well as what’s best for our players.”-Hyde on the composition of the Orioles’ pitching staff.

What’s what? Hyde pointed out that the Orioles faced Boston’s regulars, and that Lowther’s performance will leave a positive impression on the team. Lowther will start the season at Triple-A Norfolk, but if he pitches well there, he could spend significant time in Baltimore this summer.

What’s the number? 9. Eric Hanhold has appeared in nine games. No other Oriole pitcher has been in more than five. Hanhold got the final out of the fifth but allowed two hits and a walk in the sixth without recording an out.

What’s the record? 8-14-1. The Orioles play the Pittsburgh Pirates at 6:05 p.m. on Thursday. It’s MASN’s second and final telecast and can also be heard on 105.7 The Fan and the Orioles Radio Network.

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