In all things, there is good news and bad news. The good news of today's Orioles spring training game against the Phillies is that the O's only allowed a single run to their opponents. The bad news is that the Orioles did not score any runs in a 1-0 loss. Eventually, the bats will come alive. They have four weeks to go until Opening Day to do so. Today was not the day.
Early in spring training, the pitchers are usually ahead of the hitters. Right? That's what we can tell ourselves. There's a reason why they don't just start up the regular season right away without going through all of this warm-up stuff.
With one exception, the O's pitchers were ahead of the Philadelphia hitters, too. Chris Tillman started off the game with two scoreless innings in his first work of the spring training season. He gave up a hit and allowed a walk, striking out one batter.
"I don't like sitting there," Tillman told O's reporters of the wait to get into a game. His goal in the first action was just to "get a feel for all of (his) pitches," and in that sense he felt like the outing was a success. There will be other tune-up starts with more ambitious goals. This is only the beginning.
Following Tillman was Brian Matusz, who sent down the Phillies 1-2-3 in his first inning of work, then struck out the side while allowing a double to Jeff Francouer in the next inning. O's Buck Showalter was either impressed enough or wanted to get Matusz a little more work, so he brought out Matusz for another inning on top of that. It didn't go quite as well: Matusz allowed a home run to Andres Blanco, who led off the fifth. He added another strikeout before being relieved by another lefty, Pat McCoy.
The Blanco home run was the game's only run. Over his 2.1 innings, Matusz allowed a double and a home run while striking out four.
Incumbent closer Zach Britton worked the sixth inning - hey, it's spring training - giving up a hit and hitting a batter. He erased the threat with a double play ball. No word on whether Showalter predicted that one, as he did at the close of the ALDS.
Tyler Wilson pitched two innings and Darren O'Day pitched the ninth. Wilson allowed only one hit over his two innings. O'Day pitched a perfect ninth. The home run was all for offense for both teams.
The O's had chances against Phillies starter Aaron Harang in the game's first two innings, but they failed to capitalize. Harang only pitched two innings and allowed five Orioles to reach base. They got no runs. It would have been frustrating to watch if the game was actually on TV, which it wasn't.
How do you get five baserunners but no runs? In the first inning, Alejandro De Aza led off with a single. He was wiped out by a Steve Pearce GIDP. Chris Davis worked a two-out walk and was stranded. The next inning, Matt Wieters led off with a walk, really getting the burner on the basepaths to start off the inning.
Two outs later, Wieters still stood on first base. Fellow catcher Steve Clevenger moved him up to second base with a single, and both catchers took another base on an infield hit off the bat of the day's starting second baseman. That gave the O's the bases loaded, though there were two outs. De Aza flew out to left to end the inning.
The O's had another good chance in the seventh inning. Against Phillies pitcher Paul Clemens, new daddy Caleb Joseph led off with a single. Behind him, the second baseman took a walk. Two men on with none down is promising. Unfortunately, both players were on the same bases two outs later, and even though the O's got the bases loaded with two outs again after Davis was hit by a pitch, they did not score.
Over the game's nine innings, the O's had seven hits, three walks, and one HBP. Some of these were even clumped together into the same couple of innings. They just could not get a hit to drive in any runs.
Next up for the O's is a game against the Yankees on Tuesday at 1:05. This game will be in Sarasota and televised on MASN. That probably doesn't do you much good if you'll be stuck at work away from MASN. Sorry.