Nick Markakis played in an Orioles game, only he was on the other team. That is a weird thing to see, or it would have been weird to see if the game was actually televised. Tomorrow's game, also against the Braves, will be televised. Maybe we'll see him then.
Incidental to that curious occurrence was the actual spring training game played between the Orioles and Braves on Thursday evening. The game didn't count, of course. There are only two more games left where that is the case. The Orioles lost this particular meaningless game, 6-5. T.J. McFarland, starting his second full inning of relief, turned a one-run lead into a walkoff loss in the span of three batters in the bottom of the ninth.
Neither team scored until the fifth inning of the game. The O's had a tough time getting much going against Braves starter Alex Wood. They turned three singles into a run in the fifth inning to get on the scoreboard and take a one-run lead. Nolan Reimold got the RBI, driving in Manny Machado, who led off the inning with a single.
Atlanta got three quick singles of their own to open up the bottom half of the same inning. Andrelton Simmons drove in a run for the Braves, though he was thrown out trying to advance to second on the play. A wild pitch by O's starter Wei-Yin Chen cost the O's a second run. Chen was done after five innings of work, giving up two runs on six hits. He didn't walk anyone and struck out four batters.
Chen probably could have pitched for longer. He'd only thrown 68 pitches in five innings. With his next start being the regular season, the O's probably didn't see a need to push farther than that.
The O's tied up the game at 2-2 in the top of the sixth inning. A leadoff single from Steve Pearce, helped along by a fielding error and a subsequent single by Chris Davis, turned into a run on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Manny Machado.
They did most of their damage in the seventh inning against Chien-Ming Wang. Will very many regular season outings hinge on pitchers of the quality of Wang? Well, no, probably not. So getting three runs off Wang on April 2 doesn't mean a whole heck of a lot. Travis Snider hit a two-run home run that just barely cleared the fence in right field. Pearce delivered an RBI single later in the inning, giving the O's what was then a 5-2 lead.
The lead did not stay there for long. Ryan Webb, the O's reliever tasked with pitching the bottom of the seventh, didn't have a very good outing, giving up a total of two runs on three hits and a walk in two-thirds of an inning. For a little while it's been looking like Webb might be one of the pitchers squeezed out in the bullpen roster crush coming at the end of spring training. Unable to even finish a full inning today, he unfortunately did nothing to dispel that impression.
Atlanta out-hit the O's 14-11 in the game. Markakis had a multi-hit game for the Braves, matching his hit total (two) for the entire spring up until this point. For the O's, leadoff batter Reimold, as well as Pearce, Davis, and Machado, all had multi-hit games.
The two teams will play another 6:05 game tomorrow, this time in Sarasota. The Friday evening game will be televised on MASN as well as on the MLB Network, and will also be on the radio in Baltimore on 105.7 FM and in Atlanta on 1340 AM. Real baseball is less than 96 hours away and it can't get here soon enough.