A couple off day thoughts and notes

*I’m flying to Canada shortly to start the first three-city 10 game, roadtrip of the year, but wanted to pass along a few notes following the Orioles’ series sweep by the Yankees…

*It’s been said a million times, but it starts with starting pitching and it usually ends there as well. It’s no coincidence that the Orioles won their first three games when the starters went at least seven innings, and struggled after a pair of shorter starts from Brian Matusz and Wei-Yin Chen taxed the bullpen. Of course, it would’ve been easier to cover those innings if the Orioles had a long man. Instead, manager Buck Showalter had to use a bunch of one-inning relievers for an inning-plus, to get by Monday and Tuesday (which went to extra innings) and by the time Wednesday rolled around, the ‘pen was in pretty dire straits.

Starter Jason Hammel was held out of his workday for use in an emergency and while Arrieta went 6 2/3 innings, Showalter wanted to stay away from Pedro Strop and Troy Patton –saving Jim Johnson only if there was a save situation — and Matt Lindstrom’s back tightened up and he wasn’t available.

I know Kevin Gregg has his critics, but he is always willing to take the ball. I think it’s fair to say that using him for a second inning –and Nick Swisher homering off his 34th pitch — was more a function of necessity than preference, something Showalter agreed with last night. There were a lot of factors in the extra-innings loss, and Gregg was certainly one of them. He just wasn’t the only one.

Here’s what Adam Jones, who struck with the bases-loaded, had to say about his part in the O’s loss.

“Oh my God. I’m still thinking about that now,” Jones said to reporters after the game.  “I’m texting my brother about it. Just over-swinging. I need to stay shorter. Somebody told me: ‘Stop trying to hit the ball to San Diego. Just put the ball in play.’ That’s true. I just need to put the ball in play and make the defense make a play.”

Jones said he wasn’t surprised that Yankees setup man Rafael Soriano intentionally walked Nick Markakis to get to him.

“Righty-righty, sets you up,” Jones said. “I just didn’t come through for my team.”*In case you missed it, top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy was really, really good (again) in his second pro start. MiLB.com caught up with Bundy, and you can read his comments on the outing here.*Tsuyoshi Wada is scheduled to make his second extended spring outing Saturday and if all goes well he will go out on a rehab assignment next. Wada could be activated April 25 at the earliest. Lefty Zach Britton will play catch today for the first time since receiving PRP (platelet rich plasma) treatment in his left shoulder.

*Finally, on an unrelated but still very important note, I encourage you all to check out March for Babies going on at Camden Yards on May 5.  Sports reporter Amber Theoharis, who most of you know from her work with MASN, is taking part for her daughter, Dylan, who was born premature and the event raises funds and awareness so that all babies can be born healthy and with a chance at a full life. If you can’t make the walk, you can visit Amber’s page here and make a donation. Every little bit counts. (Note if that page doesn’t work –it times out occasionally — you can just put into Google “March of dime Dylan Mattea” and the page comes up first in the search engine.)

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