SARASOTA—What’s happening Tyler Wells will start for the Orioles when they play the Pittsburgh Pirates at LECOM Park in Bradenton, Florida on Saturday night at 6:05.
Wells will start for the fifth time this spring. He has allowed 10 runs on 10 hits in 10 2/3 innings for an 8.44 ERA with 14 strikeouts and two walks.
He’ll be opposed by Vince Velasquez, who’ll be starting for the fourth time this spring, all against the Orioles. Velasquez started three games at Ed Smith Stadium.
The game will be broadcast by WBAL/98 Rock with Geoff Arnold and Melanie Newman.
Kyle Bradish will start on Sunday against Philadelphia’s Matt Strahm. Dean Kremer will start the final spring game on Monday against St. Louis.
Ramón Urías was scratched for the second straight game because of a bruised right thumb.
Anthony Santander started at first base on Friday night, and manager Brandon Hyde is comfortable with him there.
“He took a lot of ground balls the second half of last year, never got him in a game,” Hyde said. “That’s something we talked about going into the offseason with him. We might give him some exposure over there at first base this spring.
“The WBC cut that a little short. We did some stuff prior to him leaving. He got into a game. He’s going to try to get in to a couple of games before we leave.”
What’s happened? Kyle Gibson, who was named the Orioles’ Opening Day starter, allowed six runs on 11 hits in 4 2/3 innings in the Orioles’ 7-6 win over a New York Yankees split-squad on Friday night before an announced crowd of 7,706, the spring’s second sellout at Ed Smith Stadium.
Gibson allowed a three-run home run in the first to Oswaldo Cabrera. After he allowed Kyle Higashioka’s double, Hyde and head athletic trainer Brian Ebel checked on Gibson, and he continued.
“My pointer finger came off the ball and hit my own thumb,” Gibson said. “My fingernail cut my finger. It’s right by my fingernail. It didn’t affect me at all. I think they saw me trying to bite the skin off that was hanging off, and they didn’t really like that, so they came out to check on me. It didn’t affect anything. I feel fine.”
After he walked Billy McKinney, New York’s seventh hitter of the inning, Hyde removed him and Phoenix Sanders recorded the third out.
Gibson reentered for the second and allowed a three-run homer to Higashioka.
“They were putting good swings on it,” Gibson said. “I don’t know that I had quite the execution I had in the past outings. The Higashioka home run, I felt like I left it up in the middle, and he put a good swing on it. The Peraza one was a little bit higher. It didn’t get high enough, and they just put good swings on it. That’s what good hitters do. I felt like I was still working ahead. Still was working well in the zone, maybe too much in the zone at times, but I felt good, stuff felt sharp, not as good a location.”
In the third, fourth and fifth, Gibson allowed three hits, but no more runs.
“Too many times in my career, I’ve given away innings when I was younger,” he said. “The first couple of innings dictate the rest of the game. I still have a job. In spring training, you’ve got to get your work in. You’ve still got a job in the regular season to get as deep as you can and you’ve got to get to that 100-pitch mark, if you can, and try to save as much of the bullpen. Too many times when I was young, those first two innings would have affected me, and I’d be out of there in the third or fourth.”
Hyde liked that Gibson was able to make it through the fifth inning.
“Get his pitch count built up, which was huge,” Hyde said. “That was a big thing. Hasn’t had many rough innings this camp, to have a couple of rough innings and then get three scoreless after that. He pitched like a guy that’s been doing it for a while.”
Keegan Akin, Logan Gillaspie and Joey Krehbiel pitched hitless innings. Mike Baumann pitched a scoreless ninth.
The Orioles scored twice in the third on four straight singles. Santander and Gunnar Henderson had RBIs.
Kyle Stowers’ two-run double, Frederick Bencosme’s sacrifice fly and Ryan McKenna’s RBI single in a four-run eighth tied the score at 6.
Josh Lester’s double won it in the ninth for the Orioles.
What’s up with? Andrew Politi continues to intrigue Hyde. He has a 4.50 ERA, but the four runs he allowed came when he gave up a pair of two-run home runs against Philadelphia on March 7th.
The Rule 5 pick retired Toronto’s George Springer, Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in order on Wednesday.
“That was a huge test for him the other day in Dunedin, going right to the top of their order,” Hyde said. “I thought he threw the ball extremely well. It was impressive. He got some weak contact and some uncomfortable swings against three of the best hitters in the game. He’s been impressive this whole camp.”
What’s the word? “Healthy, that’s the biggest thing, right? You always want to start the season as healthy as possible. I think in the first couple of innings, I probably felt like I was moving down the mound as well as I have all spring. Body feels good and arm feels really good.”-Gibson on looking forward to Opening Day.
What’s what? The Orioles’ farm system has been named tops in baseball by MLB Pipeline. It’s the fourth straight time they’ve been rated tops in the biannual ratings. Baseball America also rates them as the top farm system.
What’s the number? 0. Shortstop Jorge Mateo played center field in the sixth and seventh innings, his first action there since the Orioles claimed him off waivers from San Diego in August 2021. He didn’t have a chance in those two innings.
“It’s another opportunity I have to be on the field, and I love it,” Mateo said. “I’ve taken fly balls for a couple of days. It’s not bad. It’s easy to go in there and play.”
Hyde played Adam Frazier in right, and he’s moved Terrin Vavra around the field.
“We’re going to move guys around these last few days,” Hyde said. “Just never know what’s going to happen when the season comes around and Mateo’s been in the outfield before … Going to continue to be as versatile as we can and not surprise guys if it happens during the season.”
What’s the record? 14-12-3. The Orioles will play the Pittsburgh Pirates at LECOM Park in Bradenton at 6:05 p.m.
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB