O's Spring Training Notes- 3/14

ITO was on hand Wednesday as the Orioles faced the Pittsburgh Pirates. Here are some notes.

o RHP Jake Arrieta pitched well in the first with a 1-2-3 inning striking out Alex Presley and Andrew McCutchen, but could not find his rhythm in the second. He allowed three straight singles then a double to start the inning. During that time, Arrieta couldn't locate his fastball and off-speed pitches. This led to the hitter's counts that got him in trouble. He followed up with two strikeouts and recorded the final out when Presley got caught trying for two. Arrieta finished allowing four runs and four strikeouts in 2.2 innings pitched. Arrieta said he was struggling with his tempo, and that had a factor in his pitching. Arrieta's fastball hovered in the 95-97mph zone.

o SS J.J. Hardy had a solid day at the plate, knocking his first homerun of spring training over the left field wall in the bottom of the first. He followed it up the next inning with an RBI single bringing 2B Robert Andino home. Hardy went 2-for-3 with a walk and his first two RBIs of the spring.

o Hardy wasn't the only one to take advantage of the 333 ft. wall in left. Mark Reynolds crushed a homer on a 2-2 count in his first at bat that gave him his first homerun of the year as well. Reynolds also had a sacrifice RBI in the third, which is the last time the Orioles would make it on the board.

o In Nick Markakis's first game back, he was unable to net the O's a win, going 0-2 with a walk and a strikeout. Markakis served as DH and should get his first appearance in left field next Tuesday.

o Endy Chavez also drove in an RBI during the five-hit second inning.

o Once Pittsburg's James McDonald left the game the O's couldn't find their bats and only had one hit in the final six innings of play.

o LHP Zach Phillips took over for Arrieta in the third to get an easy out only to have some control issues to start the fourth. He walked his first batter Garrett Jones, then struck out Pedro Alvarez looking, but gave up a four pitch walk to Clint Barmes immediately after. After a base hit, he got out of a tight, bases-loaded jam by inducing a double play from pinch hitter and former Oriole Jake Fox to end the inning.

o RHP Jim Johnson was credited with the loss for the Orioles after giving up three runs in his first appearance. Johnson couldn't manage to stay ahead in the count giving up hits to four of the first five runners he faced. RF Endy Chavez almost saved Johnson a run on an excellent throw from right to home, but Neil Walker managed to barely slip by catcher Matt Wieters at the plate.

o RHP Matt Lindstrom pitched a great sixth inning by mixing his pitches well, and going up and down the ladder. He recorded back-to-back strikeouts, followed by inducing a slow grounder for the out at first to end the inning.

o Defense in the game was good until 2B Robert Andino couldn't control the ball to get a double play in the seventh. With runners on first and second, Starling Marte attempted to steal third. 3B Mark Reynolds couldn't catch the ball from home, and a Marte scored on the play. The back-to-back errors proved further costly when RHP Willie Eyre gave up three more hits, including a triple to Josh Harrison, and three more runs came across the plate. Eyre was not charged with any runs.

o LHP Casey Fossum and RHP Pedro Strop closed out the game without allowing anymore runs.

o Despite giving up eleven runs and 15 hits, the Orioles pitching staff did manage to strikeout twelve Pirate batters.

o It was also a very positive sign to see Reynolds and Hardy go deep, as their bats will be very important in the upcoming season.

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