Caution all you want about spring training stats, opponent quality, or the fact that any ball hit with authority to left field at Ed Smith Stadium likely becomes a home run.
It all adds up to a heap of meaningless baseball that will be forgotten in five days when the Orioles return north for Opening Day. But games like Saturday's 16-8 win over the Boston Red Sox give a glimpse of the absolute best-case scenario for the 2016 Orioles offensively.
Since they began the business portion of spring training Thursday — six of their last eight Grapefruit League games are at home, and will feature the regulars they'll rely on during the season — the Orioles have hit an eye-popping 12 home runs.
On Thursday against the Pittsburgh Pirates, it was three. On Friday, they upped that to five in a win over the New York Yankees. Four Orioles homered Saturday as the team overcame a miserable start from Yovani Gallardo to score a spring-high 16 runs against a Boston lineup that wasn't representative of its major league roster.
Right fielder Mark Trumbo, who homered in two straight games and four of his past five entering Saturday, settled for a two-out, two-run double to give the Orioles an early 2-0 lead in the first inning before scoring on a single by designated hitter Pedro Alvarez. From then on, it was mostly home runs that supplied the home team offensively.
Shortstop J.J. Hardy homered for the third straight game to drive in Alvarez and cut a 6-3 deficit to 6-5 in the third. Then with the score leveled at 7 apiece, Ed Smith Stadium couldn't contain the Orioles bats. Third baseman Manny Machado, who hit third in a new-look Orioles lineup, homered on a missile down the left-field line, and first baseman Chris Davis backed that up with his own home run to left-center field.
Later in the inning, with two men on base, backup catcher Audry Perez cleared the patio seating in left field to complete a six-run sixth inning. Perez had four RBIs on the day.
The Orioles entered their 25th spring training game with 32 home runs, with Saturday bringing their total to 36. A third of those have come in the past three games.
Worley strong again
Gallardo was hit around by a mostly minor league Red Sox roster, allowing seven runs on eight hits in 3 2/3 innings, but right-hander Vance Worley continued his roster push with 2 1/3 scoreless innings of relief. He lowered his spring ERA to 4.61. Worley is out of minor league options, putting him in a unique place when it comes to roster construction.
Rickard in leadoff spot
Rule 5 outfielder Joey Rickard did everything a leadoff man is supposed to in a rare appearance at the top of the lineup Saturday. Rickard was hit by a pitch and walked twice in his first three at-bats, and he stole two bases after reaching. He also added a single in his fifth trip of the day, and scored twice. He's batting .392 on the spring, and emerging as a candidate to contribute to the Orioles this season.