For the fifth time in sixth games, the Orioles (33-23) erased a late deficit for a 4-1 win in the series opener against the defending World Series champion Kansas City Royals before 14, 873 fans at Camden Yards.
Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy hasn't played second base since he was 11 years old, but the three-time Gold Glove winner would be manager Buck Showalter's first choice to shift over to second if starter Jonathan Schoop couldn't play.
On the first-inning twin-killing in question, third baseman Manny Machado tried to tag Boston center fielder Mookie Betts out on his way to third base, but Betts, who had been running in what would have been the throwing lane to second base, fell to avoid the tag. Machado instead threw to second baseman Jonathan Schoop to get the out there. As that was all happening, shortstop J.J. Hardy ran to cover third base. Schoop threw back to third, and Hardy applied the tag to end the inning.
Yovani Gallardo made his Orioles debut on Wednesday night and gave up just two hits over five innings to get the decision in a 4-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins before 12,622 shivering fans at Camden Yards. Chris Davis hit his first homer.
Everyone in the Orioles' clubhouse has done the mental math and seems to have an idea of what a breakout season for the 24-year-old Jonathan Schoop in 2016 will look like. Only Manny Machado will say it. "I think he's capable of winning the Gold Glove, and he's capable of winning the Silver Slugger."
J.J. Hardy might not feel like he has been that busy, but he should be up to speed by this time next week thanks to a back-loaded schedule of home games this spring. The Orioles play six of their last eight Grapefruit League games at Ed Smith Stadium, beginning with Thursday's win over the Pittsburgh Pirates, before heading north for an April 1 exhibition in Philadelphia.
The Orioles opened their home exhibition schedule with a wild-and-crazy 11-4 loss to the Atlanta Braves at Ed Smith Stadium on Wednesday that featured a frightening spring debut by starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez and the first Chris Davis moonshot of the Grapefruit League season.
Chris Davis is signed through 2022. Adam Jones is locked up through 2018 and would like to sign an extension. Manny Machado is under team control for three more seasons and Jonathan Schoop for four. J.J Hardy has two more guaranteed years and a vesting option for 2018. That's called stability, and guaranteeing it over a significant period is a major step toward being a regular participant in the postseason.
Second baseman Jonathan Schoop's right hand was still swollen Friday, one day after he was hit with a pitch in the first inning of Thursday's 6-4 win over Toronto. But Schoop is still hoping that he can get back in the starting lineup.
A few weeks ago, we were talking about how the Orioles rely too much on the home run, but when their starting pitching is able to accomplish what it has over their current five-game win streak, a few solo homers will do the job.
The Orioles beat the Tigers, 9-3, to win the three-game series in Detroit. Center fielder Adam Jones hit a solo home run in the first inning and second baseman Jonathan Schoop hit a three-run home run in the fourth.
Orioles legend Cal Ripken Jr. said Tuesday on a conference call that despite a rash of early-season injuries, the 2015 edition of the Orioles are ¿positioned pretty well¿ for the rest of the season with the core of its team now healthy.
The returns of shortstop J.J. Hardy and catcher Matt Wieters have helped the Baltimore Orioles overcome a rough start in the field and at the plate, allowing the club streak back to the top of the American League East.