Disclaimer - These posts will be a work in progress as we move through the season and find the best way to break down the games for you guys.
Yesterday featured a split-squad series, with half the team playing the afternoon game against Tampa, and the rest playing the evening game against Pittsburgh.
Brian Matusz started the game and pitched better than his final line suggests. Matusz sat 90 - 91 with his fastball, and showed pretty good control (especially given the time of year). This is obviously a huge question mark going into the rest of spring, but early reports are good. Matusz got ahead of hitters, taking 3 of the 6 batters in the first inning to 0-2 counts. His secondary stuff looked good too, missing in several curveballs and changeups throughout his start. I also liked his willingness to throw his secondary stuff in any count, including starting off an at-bat, which is important to keep hitters off balance.
Kevin Gregg was... well... Kevin Gregg. Gave up two quick hits including a crushed homerun. He then struc out the side. Sigh.
Matt Lindstrom and Darren O'Day, two new relievers the O's have this year had some mixed results. For Lindstrom, velocity comes easy despite a violent leg kick in his delivery. His delivery may be affecting his control though, he has a career 3.39 BB/9. O'Day will remind O's fans of Chad Bradford given his unique delivery. He showed good deception but again below average control. Hopefully these guys can tighten their control as the spring goes on.
Ryan Adams and Chris Davis were the highlights of a lineup that might look similar to one we'll see during the regular season. Both guys had good first at-bats, battling, and ultimately putting good swings on the ball. Later in the game Chris Davis followed it up with another solid at-bat in 6th inning by lacing an RBI single into right field after falling behind 1-2. Small victories.
Manny Machado, shortstop extraordinaire, made 2 nice plays at SS. Machado, it should be noted played in the afternoon game against the Rays, and then came in off the bench in the nightcap. Machado made a fantastic diving grab in the top of the 7th showing really good range. He also made a great throw to first, showcasing his arm strength as well. Machado helped finish the inning as well starting a double play on a grounder back up the middle.
It was a good first game, and there are definitely areas to grow. I'm not really worried about the results or the score, though some O's fans might find it depressing to check the final score. I think the O's have room to grow, but some of the younger guys and/or guys competing for a roster spot showed well.
Jake Arrieta apparently looks pretty good this spring, another good sign for O's fans.
Also, this is the best tweet to this point of Spring Training as far as I can tell: