In an MLB spring training 2018 interleague matchup on Sunday afternoon, the visiting Baltimore Orioles outlasted the Philadelphia Phillies by a score of 6-5 at Spectrum Field (formerly known as Bright House Field) in Clearwater, Florida.
Yesterday’s game moved along crisply, at least until the eighth inning that is. Nestor Cortes Jr. “pitched three innings, allowing four hits, including a solo home run by Rhys Hoskins, but no other damage, then [Miguel] Castro struck out six in three innings of one-hit relief,” the Baltimore Sun explained.
For the Orioles, Nick Pivetta threw for three shutout innings, giving up just two hits and striking out five. He was followed by Ben Lively, who gave up three hits and two runs over four innings. Both Cortes and Castro are expected to make the Orioles big league roster.
Cortes also made a great play on a line drive from Phillies first baseman Carlos Santana in the third inning (see clip embedded below). Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco homered in the seventh off of winning pitcher Brad Brach.
As is the case in many Grapefruit League games generally, most of the Orioles’ veterans did not make the trip from Sarasota. For the majority of MLB teams, moreover, the 2018 exhibition season effectively ended yesterday, with just a handful of games left on either the Grapefruit or Cactus league schedule in the run-up to Opening Day of the regular season — when games count for real — on March 29.
As alluded to above, with his team ahead 3-2, Phillies rookie manager Gabe Kapler used four pitchers in the eighth, but his team wound up giving up three runs on four hits to the Orioles, leading to the eventual 6-5 defeat. The Phillies scored one run in the bottom of the frame, and each team added a run in the ninth. Ranfi Casimiro took the loss.
Notably, the Phillies stole four bases in the contest (zero for the Orioles), and after singling, center fielder Odubel Herrera was picked off at first base by Orioles catcher Chance Sisco in the bottom of the first. A total of 12 different pitchers took the mound during the game before about 8,500 fans. Even with so many pitching changes, the game took just two hours and 38 minutes, which is fast by MLB standards. MLB continues to address pace-of-play issues in just a limited or incremental fashion so far, however.
Overall, the Baltimore Orioles are 17-12 in spring training action, while the Philadelphia Phillies have the reverse record of 12-17.
In the 2017 MLB season, the Baltimore Orioles finished last in the American League East with a record of 75-87, while the Phillies finished last in the National League East with a record of 66-96. It’s all relative, but the Phillies appear to be a team on the rise, while it’s unclear how the Orioles will fare in the highly competitive AL East, given how the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox have upgraded their squads. The Orioles could also lose star Manny Machado to free agency after this season.
Parenthetically, former Baltimore Orioles infielder Ryan Flaherty, who batted over 300 in spring training, opted out yesterday of a minor league deal with the Philadelphia Phillies, suggesting a possible reunion with the Birds, although it now appears he is joining the Atlanta Braves instead.