Last spring it was a foregone conclusion that Joey Rickard would break camp with the Baltimore Orioles. He was a Rule 5 pick, and would have to be sent back to Tampa if he was sent down. That’s not the case this year, however Rickard’s making his case to be on the Orioles’ roster one way or the other this spring.
Kevin Gausman got the start this afternoon against Philadelphia, however while he did struggle I think his numbers are a bit deceiving. Gausman’s line: 3.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (1 earned), 1 BB, 3 K. Gausman in essence had to record five outs in the first inning because of two errors – one of which cost the Orioles a run. Caleb Joseph misplayed a throw home on a grounder in the infield, allowing a run to score on a fielder’s choice and an E2.
Point being, Gausman probably would have thrown one additional inning, and perhaps a bit better across the board if not for that first inning. He also allowed an RBI-single to Saunders in the third which gave Philadelphia a 2-0 lead.
However the Orioles battled back, and Joseph atoned for his prior mistake. His third inning solo homer put the Orioles on the board, and cut the Philadelphia lead to 2-1. They’d extend that to 3-1 in the fourth on a wind-aided homer by Stassi, but that was nothing more than false hope if you were rooting for the boys from the city of brotherly love.
Mark Trumbo‘s RBI-single in the last of the fourth cut the lead to 3-2, which brought Rickard to the plate later in the inning with Trumbo and Mancini on base. Rickard’s three-run homer put the Orioles in the lead for the first time on the afternoon at 5-3. One inning later Hyun-Soo Kim would add an RBI-single, and Phialdephia would get one back in the eighth on a homer by Williams. But this was the Orioles’ day at the end, and they fought to a 6-4 win.
At one point it was almost accepted that Rickard would probably start the season in the minors. However he’s putting a lot of pressure on the club to bring him north when the time comes. And that’s a good problem to have if you’re the Orioles. You want people to be banging down the door to get to or stay in the big leagues. So hitting the go-ahead and eventual winning three-run homer this afternoon certainly helps.
As I’ve said previously, if you’re going to play these games that don’t count, you might as well win them. And Rickard did his part to ensure that the Orioles did that today. Incidentally, J.J. Hardy got his first start of the spring this afternoon, going 0-for-2 at the plate with a walk. The Orioles are hoping to get him 40 at-bats or so before they head north.