Spring Training Notes for 3/12

You'd think a seven-run second inning would be good enough to hold on to a win, even in the spring when nothing matters and anyone might get in there and blow the meaningless game. Well, think again, because the Marlins opened up on us and won 13-8 yesterday afternoon in Jupiter.

Troubling: Matt Riley and Kurt Ainsworth were both bad, though Riley did have that bruise from the last time we played the Marlins, after Alex Gonzalez nailed him with a line drive. Riley went two innings in the start yesterday, giving up six hits and four runs (all earned). He did have three strikeouts and no walks.

Ainsworth, who was oh-so-caringly mentioned in a welcome from Grant at McCovey Chronicles yesterday, relieved Riley and surrendered our three-run lead, giving up six hits and five earned runs in two innings of work, which gave him the loss. DuBose was roughed up as well (2 IP, 3 ER) and Steve Reed gave up a run in an inning.

However, John Parrish pitched a shutout inning and Chris Gomez went 2-for-3. Keep on the sunny side. At 4-4 now, our next game is today at 1:05 against the Dodgers in Fort Lauderdale, with Sir Sidney making his spring debut.

I think the Giants won that Ponson for Ainsworth/Damian Moss trade, considering they have none of the ineffective pitchers and we have two of them. Plus they still have Barry Bonds, while we have Larry Bigbie. If Larry would change his first name to Barry, he might be able to get some mojo. "Barry Bigbie" does have a ring to it, doesn't it?

With Riley struggling again, it could mean Bruce Chen gets a spot in the rotation. That sounds somewhat torturous given that Chen has played for 104 teams since 1998 and has always been that guy people are waiting for to break out for their team when they get him, but Bruce was really good late last season and at this point we sure can't be too picky about who starts so long as they get the job done. Plus, Chen is still only 28. There's hope left. Or maybe I'm now that guy that's going, "Oh yeah, Chen time! Chen's going to do it for us! All those other teams didn't know what they had! Bruce Chen!"

You know what my greatest fear is this season, though? Tejader gets hurt and all of a sudden Enrique freaking Wilson and Chris Gomez are platooning at shortstop. That's enough to give you nightmares.

But on the subject of hurt guys, Luis Matos was hit in the left hand against Florida yesterday, but it looks like he'll be OK. Brian Roberts says he's feeling better, but the O's aren't sure when he'll get back into the lineup. No MRI is necessary (so far) for his strained right shoulder, which is a relief. Hope for the very best and no mystery injury situation that plagues him, because Roberts is an every day key to the lineup. If he develops a hair more patience, which isn't unlikely or anything, and cuts down on his strikeouts, he's got the chance to be a fantastic leadoff hitter for us, which would be a huge help.

50 doubles from a guy with that speed last year combined with the players that will be hitting behind him this season could mean a lot of runs from the leadoff spot. If he can get up to about .290/.370 (.271/.344 last season), which I don't think is crazy, he could do a lot of damage.

I've been doing my maths a little the last few days and making some boldly uneducated projections for our starting lineup this year. I notice that without really thinking about it, I'm optimistic on home runs for a lot of our guys, but not so much a lot of other things. Mora and Tejada I have no doubt will be our best hitters. I think barring injury that's almost a given. I'm expecting homers from Sosa, but that's about it. I figure Javy's BA/OBP is going to drop a fair bit this year but his power might go up a smidge.

Anyway, I might share those for the sake of discussion in the next couple of days, and we can agree to disagree that Larry Barry Bigbie is going to be a silent assassin at the bottom of the lineup.

I want to send a welcome to Let's Go Tribe, the newest member of the SportsBlogs Family. I'd say go over there and talk some Albert Belle mess, but the Indians remember Albert Belle as a killing machine, which is a bit removed from the Albert Belle of our memories.

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