The long and awaited spring debut of new Orioles pitcher Justin Duchscherer finally came today. After feeling hip soreness earlier in camp, Duchscherer pitched two innings for the Birds, saying afterward that he felt even better than he did in his previous bullpen session. While Duke did allow a hit and a walk over the two frames, he left basically unscathed and ended up throwing 27 pitches, 15 for strikes. That is all great news.
Following Duchscherer was Brian Matusz, who pitched 2.1 innings total. Matusz gave up a solo shot to Ryan Howard, and also left a man on when he was taken out of the game that eventually scored, crediting him with two runs on the day. Chris George, Mike Gonzalez, and Jim Johnson all followed Matusz, combining for 2.2 IP and 0 ER (though George let the Matusz runner score).
The “b-team” lineup, as I have grown to call it (no Opening Day starters), did a great job at getting on board early, with a Jake Fox RBI double and a Josh Bell sacrifice fly. To note: Jake Fox is hitting .391 this spring and leading the team in RBIs and HRs with 7 and 3 respectively. The third run of the day again came off the bat of Josh Bell, when he hit an RBI double in the 6th, scoring Nolan Reimold.
Why the Orioles did not win 3-2 at this point came down to a moment that reminded me of Opening Day in Tampa last season, when Michael Gonzalez let up some hits and walks (after entering the game with the score of 3-2), and eventually letting Carl Crawford hit a walkoff single to right field. Today, Rule 5 Draft pick Adrian Rosario came in for the 9th inning in Clearwater. After loading up the bases on back to back walks and a light single, the Phillies’ Carlos Rivero hit a 2 RBI single up the middle, scoring the game’s winning runs, and sealing the deal for Philadelphia.
While the Orioles may have lost the game, in the end, they got solid performances out of the guys that really count. Adrian Rosario, while it would be nice to see him come out on fire and make the team, most likely will be shipped back to the Milwaukee Brewers organization. Besides today’s outing, he has been impressive in camp for a minor league pitcher, but it has come through lately why he has never played a game above level A ball. While he would be nice to hold onto in our system, the Rule 5 Draft doesn’t allow that.
Daily Nugget Award(s):
- Justin Duchscherer: 2 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 BB
- Josh Bell: 1-3, 2 RBIs, Sac Fly