The Orioles have remained steadfast in their contention that early spring results are not a predictor of future returns, but it’s still hard to get away from the fact that they are still winless more than a week into the Grapefruit League exhibition season.
They had hoped that getting back home for a cluster of games would be an elixir after playing five of their first seven on the road, but the Minnesota Twins showed up at Ed Smith Stadium and scored a 3-0 victory to drop the Orioles’ record to 0-7-1. That’s easily the worst spring record in the major leagues.
Still, this is spring training and the individual performances are what’s important, so the Orioles had something positive to take out of Tuesday’s game.
Right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez, who lasted just one-third of an inning in his 2016 spring debut, delivered an encouraging encore. He pitched three shutout innings and gave up just one hit to reduce his crazy 162.00 spring ERA to just 16.20.
His first two outings have been reminiscent of last spring, when he struggled in his debut and then pitched well from that point on.
“Yeah it felt like every time to the mound I was able to command the fastball and get ahead and stay ahead,’’ he said. “I think that’s what I did today.”
Twins starter Phil Hughes also threw three one-hit innings before four Minnesota relievers completed the shutout.
Highly regarded prospect Hunter Harvey replaced Jimenez and gave up a run over 1 1/3 innings to get the loss. Reliever Mychal Givens also had a tough outing for the Orioles, allowing a single, a double and two walks to surrender a run in the sixth.
Schoop gets side-swiped
Second baseman Jonathan Schoop got tripped up by Twins baserunner Oswaldo Arcia as he was receiving a throw at second base in the fifth inning. He came up shaking off some pain in his right hand, but stayed in the game and singled in his next plate appearance.
Hyun Soo Kim still hitless
Left fielder Hyun Soo Kim, who expressed frustration on Saturday because of his slow start at the plate, grounded out both times he came up on Monday and remains hitless through 18 exhibition at-bats. He was removed from the game after seven innings and replacement Alfredo Marte singled in the eighth.
Machado’s web gem
Give Manny Machado an assist – both literally and figuratively – for ranging far to his left to field a bouncer off the glove of Jimenez and throwing out Kennys Vargas for the final out of the first inning. That saved a run and was the key defensive play in Jimenez’ bounce-back scoreless outing.