Did anyone notice the new warning track at Camden Yards?
Orioles manager Buck Showalter is pleased that the Orioles replaced their synthetic track with a natural surface.
“I know it’s a lot safer,” he said. “I really applaud our ownership for it, because somebody had to pay for it, and it was huge.
“I know our outfielders are very excited about it. They came out with this zone rating for defense and they kept coming back about Orioles outfielders, and a couple spots they were short in was deep warning track right-center, left-center. They were trying to show this to me and I was like, ‘Yeah, there’s a reason. Look at their road ratings on the road. They don’t happen, right?’ They were like, ‘Yeah, why is that?’ I said, ‘Because we have this rubberized thing.’
“Nobody dives on it. When’s the last time you saw a diving catch on that stuff? So, I think you’ll see some things happen on there that haven’t been done in the past. You don’t want anybody to dive on it. I know (Matt) Wieters almost slipped on it when it’s wet. Nicky (Markakis) actually did slip with plastic cleats. Almost blew his knee out last year. We were lucky. So just from a safety thing alone. And it has the potential to enhance an already beautiful ballpark.”
The Orioles continue to trail the Minnesota Twins 5-4 in the bottom of the eighth inning.
They wasted a two-out single by Wieters and double by J.J. Hardy in the bottom of the seventh. Alexi Casilla, pinch-hitting for Ryan Flaherty and getting his first at-bat as an Oriole, ran the count full and struck out swinging against Twins reliever Casey Fien.
Casilla was facing his former team. The Orioles selected him off waivers Nov. 2.
The Orioles are 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position today and have stranded 10.
Troy Patton didn’t surrender a run in 1 1/3 innings. He gave up one hit, allowing an inherited runner to score, and struck out two.
Luis Ayala has followed with 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Ayala served up a game-tying three-run homer to Tampa Bay’s Shelley Duncan in his 2013 debut.
Today’s attendance: 46,653, the 22nd straight sellout of a home opener at Camden Yards.