The Baltimore Orioles made their lone visit to George Steinbrenner Field in Tampa to play New York yesterday in the spring, and they ended up beating NY at their own game. While New York hasn’t exactly been the Bronx Bombers in a few years, they’re certainly making an effort to return themselves to that status. But it didn’t exactly work out that way yesterday afternoon with the O’s in town.
Dylan Bundy got the start for the Birds, and ended up getting beat around just a bit. Bundy’s line: 4 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 1 K. Bundy struggled with his control at times, but that’s also what these spring games are about in a sense. He gave up an RBI-single and a two-RBI double in the last of the third, and New York got out to a 3-0 lead. However one inning later the Birds showed that they came to play, as Pedro Alvarez smacked a solo homer.
Chris Johnson would add a two-run shot later in the inning, and suddenly the O’s were tied with the noveau Bronx Bombers. However Alvarez wasn’t done quite yet. In the top of the seventh he added an additional solo home run, giving the O’s a 4-3 lead.
New York would tie the game in the eighth with a solo shot of their own – off the bat of McKinney. But Rule 5 pick Aneury Tavarez was having none of that per se. His solo home run in the top of the ninth gave the O’s a 5-4 lead, which turned into a 5-4 win.
After the game Alvarez revealed to the media that he’s been working on his cutter this spring, and used it a lot in yesterday’s game (quote courtesy of Steve Melewski, MASNsports):
I think I bounced a couple, but that’s better than leaving them up. It’s getting better slowly. I plan on using it during the season. We haven’t talked too much about how much and if we’re going to limit using it.
And that really illustrates why we need to take these spring results and stats with a grain of salt. Often times guys go into games with an idea to work on a certain pitch or even location. So while the results weren’t what Bundy and the Orioles probably would have liked, odds are he used that cutter and some off speed pitches at a much higher rate than he would have in a regular season game.
And that type of thing is often the game within the game during spring training. Yes Bundy gave up four hits, three runs, and three walks. But he worked on his cutter a bit, and in that sense it was a successful outing from his standpoint. Obviously he hopes to use it much more effectively come the regular season, but that’s why he’s working on it now.
The Orioles will return to Sarasota and the home crowd this afternoon when Detroit comes to town. Kevin Gausman will get the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Detroit’s Matt Boyd. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.