SARASOTA, Fla. - The Orioles will play under the lights tonight at the new Ed Smith Stadium.
They’ll also play under a blue sky this afternoon in Fort Myers.
It’s a split-squad kind of day, and you can be sure that the A-Team will stay back in Sarasota for the game versus the Yankees that will air on MASN.
I thought about attending both games, but the logistics just don’t work in my favor. The clubhouse here opens to the media at 2 p.m. and I need to be inside of it. The game against the Red Sox in Fort Myers begins at 1 p.m. It’s just impossible.
I could watch both games, but I couldn’t work them properly.
Buck Showalter is a different story. He’s managing both of them.
Chris Tillman and Jason Berken will take the mound in Fort Myers, so they’re the most interesting elements of that game. Tillman will go three innings if his pitch count allows it. I just need him to get through them healthy.
Here’s the Orioles’ lineup vs. the Red Sox:
Matt Angle RF
Randy Winn CF
Nolan Reimold LF
Jake Fox C
Josh Bell 3B
Brendan Harris DH
Robert Andino 2B
Joe Mahoney 1B
Cesar Izturis SS
Chris Tillman RHP
Here’s the Red Sox’s lineup:
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Carl Crawford, LF
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
David Ortiz, DH
J.D. Drew, RF
Marco Scutaro, SS
Jason Varitek, C
Drew Sutton, 1B
John Lackey, RHP
Here’s the Orioles’ lineup vs. the Yankees:
Brian Roberts 2B
Nick Markakis RF
Luke Scott 1B
Vladimir Guerrero DH
Mark Reynolds 3B
Adam Jones CF
Felix Pie LF
Matt Wieters C
J.J. Hardy SS
Zach Britton LHP
Here’s the Yankees’ lineup:
Derek Jeter, SS
Robinson Cano, 2B
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Andruw Jones, DH
Justin Maxwell, LF
Greg Golson, CF
Melky Mesa, RF
Austin Romine, C
Sergio Mitre, RHP
Left-hander Zach Britton gets the start here. In his debut in Clearwater, he admitted to being too amped up and needed help to settle down. Now he gets the Yankees, a packed home stadium and television.
What was the alternative? Sending him to Fort Myers to face the Red Sox’s A-Team on their home field.
“Guess what, that’s the job description. Strap it on,” Showalter said yesterday. “There’s not a whole lot you can say to alleviate that. Even Jeremy Guthrie has some anxiety before his starts. He’s out here checking out the rubber and the mound and running around the infield. What are you going to do? I’d rather pull them back than push them forward. If he’s in there sound asleep ...
“I appreciate the fact (Britton) knows it’s a nice opportunity. I think it’s a great evaluation tool, too. It doesn’t mean if he does well or bad that we’re going to make a decision at the end of it, but it’s another part of the evaluation. I’m not a big believer in hiding them from stuff like that. Have an intrasquad game on Field 74? You can’t keep masking reality. I think the sooner you hit them in the face with it, the better off you are.”
Perhaps this will be the night that Luke Scott finds his stroke. He’s 0-for-9 with a walk and four strikeouts. It’s way too early to be concerned. We’re talking 10 plate appearances. But he may as well get it cranked up this week.
Vladimir Guerrero is batting .417 (5-for-12) with a home run and five RBIs. Guerrero and Jake Fox are tied for the team lead in RBIs. Fox leads the club with three homers.
Nick Markakis is batting .400 (4-for-10) with two homers and four RBIs. Nolan Reimold also has four RBIs, but his 1-for-4 yesterday lowered his average to .286 (4-for-14).
Matt Wieters, expected back in the lineup tonight, is 5-for-11 (.455) with three RBIs.
Josh Bell has walked four times, tying him with Reimold for the team lead. That’s significant. Bell needed to improve his approach at the plate, his pitch recognition, and become more patient after walking twice and striking out 53 times in 53 games with the Orioles last season.
Mark Reynolds is batting .154 (2-for-13) - both hits coming in the same game - with five strikeouts.
Felix Pie is hitting .231 (3-for-13), including an infield single yesterday on a swinging bunt.
Nick Green leads the club with six strikeouts and is 0-for-10 with a walk, two errors and a misplayed pop up.
Berken could use a good outing today in Fort Myers. He’s carrying a 9.00 ERA in two games, allowing two runs, two hits and walking two in two innings. He also has an option left and never got the chance to make a good impression on Showalter last summer. His best work came in the first half, before Showalter arrived.