Spring Training Game 26: Orioles vs. Red Sox

Jason Berken will be starting the year out in the Orioles bullpen – since Koji will be on the DL – and a continuation of his decent Spring Training might give Dave Trembley some encouragement to fit Berken into the rotation if a spot opens up. Not that one should make decisions based on such small numbers of games (against uneven competition), but since it sounds like Spring Training stats were the major driver in the team’s decision* to send Chris Tillman down to Triple-A and keep David Hernandez as the 5th starter, I might as well go with it.

* Not that the decision was wrong – Hernandez will be 25 shortly and I don’t think he has anything left to learn in the minors, while Tillman will be just 22 and can work on his command (keeping the ball down, as well as limiting walks) anywhere (theoretically).

The Good:

* Ty Wigginton game in later in the game, but still managed to drive in 3 with his 2-for-2 day (including his third Spring home run).

* Brian Roberts was in good enough shape to take the field for his third straight game, and he picked up a double and a walk while making some nice plays at second-base (or, at least, that’s how it sounded on the radio).

* Nolan Reimold singled and walked in four trips – and played some left-field.

The Bad:

* Oh, Jason. 2.1 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HR. He’ll finish the Spring (I assume this was his last appearance) with a 5.40 ERA and an 0-2 record, but his FIP – if you assume the same(ish) 3.2 constant from the regular season – is a fine 3.67 on the strength of just that one HR and a 9 to 4 strike-out to walk ratio. Slightly improved control and a few more groundballs makes Berken a decent #4 starter.

* Jim Johnson also gave up a home run – and 4 total runs – in his inning of work. K’ed 2 though.

* Dennis Sarfate got taken deep as well, though only 4 of his 5 runs allowed (in 1.1 IP) were earned.

The Final:

The O’s made a minor comeback late, but the bad pitching for the first few innings put them in too big of a hole. The Sox won it 14-6, with Boston catcher Victor Martinez equaling the Orioles’ run production all on his own with 6 RBI. The loss drops the Birds to 10-16* on the Spring, and makes me a sad panda.

* The team actually played two split-squad games on the same day a couple of weeks ago, but I didn’t count one of them since it was mostly back-ups. They lost that one. To the Red Sox. So you can say they’re 10-17 if you really want to. I don’t especially want to.