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

Spring Training

Orioles scratch Mountcastle; Kremer makes progress; Lowther shows promise

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

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.

“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.”

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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.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Bhoffman1

    March 25, 2021 at 7:45 am

    What’s a non physical injury. Hope it’s not COVID. Did you see the lineup yesterday with the season approaching. I could have told you before one pitch was thrown that we would be shutout. Sisco still can’t get a hit and Severino stinks. Big problem behind the plate. Lowther the way he threw yesterday should make this club with Adley catching him. That would give us something to be happy about hopefully by July when we are deep in the cellar they will be here.

    • ClayDal

      March 25, 2021 at 7:57 am

      Hyde probably meant to say non-baseball injury. That would have made more sense. As for the lineup yesterday, at this point the regulars only play the home games. It’s an 86 mile trip from Ed Smith Stadium to Ft Myers so they aren’t going to take the A team. The truth is they probably get more out of practice than the games themselves. If you saw the game on MASN the other day, you saw Valdez throw 3 innings and then went to the bullpen to pitch some more. They aren’t twiddling their thumbs in Sarasota when they don’t play

      • Baltimore Castaway

        March 25, 2021 at 12:39 pm

        It’s also an 86 mile trip with a lot of traffic that gets bogged-down often.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      March 25, 2021 at 8:24 am

      Maybe he had his feelings hurt.

  2. Boog Robinson Robinson

    March 25, 2021 at 8:25 am

    Repeat after me … “Sisco can hit … SIsco can hit”.

    • BrooksPJs

      March 25, 2021 at 8:56 am

      Well after Elias ruined Sisco’s career in 2018 while Elias was with the Astros, Sisco is doing the best he can…

    • Birdman

      March 25, 2021 at 9:49 am

      Sorry Boog … Sisco has managed to now fall below even Severino in spring training BA, but he’s still ahead of Crush.

  3. Orial

    March 25, 2021 at 8:39 am

    “Non-physical injury”. Thank you Yogi Berra. But I do respect everybody’s privacy. Solid and much needed outing by Kremer. He had me a little concerned. Agree this Sisco/Severino vaudeville act can’t end soon enough. Hyde obviously decided to rest his regulars and get the 2nd/3rd stringers in there–no big deal(time to start cutting the waste.

  4. ClayDal

    March 25, 2021 at 8:52 am

    Was looking up Rutschman’s college stats on Baseball Reference. The most games he ever caught in one year at Oregon State was 57. Most games was 67. In 2019, he caught 54 games at Oregon State and 17 more in the minors. Last year, with no minors, didn’t play any( inter squad games don’t count). Catching is the most demanding position on the diamond, so it would make sense for the Orioles to build up his endurance. My guess is between Bowie, Norfolk, and possibly Baltimore, he catches between 90-120 games. Last thing you want is to have him be your Opening Day catcher and have him break down by the All Star break. So let him start at Bowie and work his way up. Much better than starting at Baltimore and working his way down

    • dlgruber1

      March 25, 2021 at 2:01 pm

      I’d also add the last thing you want is him NOT playing. In Bowie and m Norfolk he’ll be the everyday catcher. In Baltimore he’d be just like Sisco/Severino, alternating and not getting enough playing time. I’m getting older and more impatient by the day but hey, what’s one more year. The biggest plus for me that I don’t hear mentioned enough is he’ll be the everyday catcher for Rodriguez and Hall, maybe even Lowther and Baumann at some point. That experience will be invaluable when they’re all in Baltimore.

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