There were few things disappointing about the game today, besides maybe the three strikeouts by 3B Mark Reynolds and sloppy first outing by LHP Dontrelle Willis, but these things shouldn't surprise fans who know the veterans. Here are some notes from the game:
o RHP Jake Arrieta threw a lot of pitches to get out of the first inning and allowed a several baserunners, but only ended up with one ER. It would be Arrieta's only earned run as he looked much sharper facing the bottom three in the order in the second, getting three quick fly balls to sit them down in order. In the third he also went 1-2-3 and even used the same three pitch sequence to get the last two outs. In the fourth Arrieta gets hit in the leg by a line drive, but gets the first out with it and continued on to retire the side in order making it nine straight batters. Arrieta finished with a good five innings 4 H 1 BB 2 K and 1 ER. It would be good to see his strike out rate go up a little as he was very consistently throwing a 94 mph fastball and was locating his off-speed well, but he kept the Nationals of balance.
o In the first, DH Wilson Betemit began the eventual beatdown on the Nationals Edwin Jackson by hitting a hard single between 2B and 1B, followed by a infield single by CF Adam Jones where Betemit managed to outrun the ball at second. He crossed home after a fly ball by Matt Weiters turned into a hit landing between three fielders near center. Adam Jones tried to plate a second but a great throw from center fielder Rick Ankiel beat him to the plate. Ankiel proved more than once this game why you don't try to take extra bases with his arm.
o The third is where the game really fell apart for Edwin Jackson. 2B Robert Andino singled (the first of three singles for the inning). He advances on to second when Edwin Jackson misses the pickoff and gets an error. They stayed all over Jackson's aggressive pitching and after two outs they get to him with two back to back singles from Betemit and Jones respectively, then Matt Wieters cracked a three run shot amounting in four runs total that inning.
o Another national error allowed Nolan Reimold to reach in the bottom of the fourth. Orioles would capitalize again when Robert Andino and Ryan Flaherty both hit back to back singles. The error trouble didn't help the Nats today ending with four on the day. The blows wouldn't stop as Jackson walked the next two batters for a bases loaded situation for Wilson Betemit who already had two hits on the day. He walked, and another runner came in. Jones would hit a single to third who threw the Nats third error. On the play the Os would try to push three in but Betemit would get tagged at home. Matt Wieters would get the last RBI of the inning and end Jackson's day with a single.
o LF Nolan Reimold got his second hit of the day in the fifth and it was a bomb off RHP Ryan Mattheus putting the Os up 11-1. The two hits Reimold hit gave him not only his first homerun this spring training, but also his first two RBIs.
o With a large lead the Os called upon their newest member to camp Dontrelle Willis. He pitched an ugly inning showing off the low control that got him removed from Phillies camp earlier this month. He walked his first three batters and two of them would cost the team runs, which they at least had plenty of support for today. The high walk rate has been Willis' Achilles heal the last few years, and his debut today did not alleviate any fears.
o Wieters would continue his hot day and plate an RBI in the sixth giving him a 4-4 day with 1 HR and 6 RBIs. Wieters really needed today because he went into the game hitting .129 with one HR and one RBI. It shows how potent his young bat can be. While days like today are great consistency will be more important across the 163 game season.
o RHP Darren O'Day, RHP Luis Ayala and RHP Matt Lindstrom all pitched 1-2-3 innings to finish the game, and the Orioles pitching faced the minimum batters in six of today's innings. It wasn't as if the staff was trying to force it with the Nationals batters, they just relied heavily on the defense that was solid all game. Overall, the Orioles only struck out four batters. Their groundout to fly out ratio was 11-9, something that is always a positive sign.
o Orioles fans can relish in the big win today, but need to remember it only brings the team to .500 in spring training so far. The AL East will still be a tough hill to climb.
o The game also marked the most runs the Orioles have scored in a game this year with the previous high of eleven coming just earlier this week versus Minnesota. Hopefully the trend can carry on to Sunday when the Orioles face Roy Halladay and the Phillies.