The last game that doesn’t count: O’s and Tides meet today

NORFOLK, Va. - With a 25-man roster that is pretty much finalized, barring a last-minute injury or acquisition, the Orioles are set to play one more game that doesn’t count today. Then it’s back to Baltimore to open the 2018 season on Thursday against Minnesota.

This afternoon, the Orioles play the Triple-A Norfolk Tides, their top minor league affiliate, in an exhibition game to wrap up a run of spring games that started Feb. 23 when Tampa Bay beat the Orioles 6-3.

The Orioles’ season opener is set for 3:05 p.m. on Thursday versus the Twins. The Tides begin another season in the International League on Friday night April 6 at Harbor Park against Gwinnett at 7:05 p.m.

The Tides team will actually fly back to Florida after this game to continue their minor league exhibition games, which run through Thursday.

This will be the sixth game the Orioles have played at Harbor Park since Norfolk became an O’s affiliate prior to the 2007 season:

March 30, 2007 - O’s beat the Nationals 6-5
April 3, 2009 - O’s beat the Nationals 6-3
April 4, 2012 - Norfolk beats the O’s 6-4
March 29, 2014 - O’s beat Norfolk 4-3
March 31, 2017 - O’s and Tides play to a 3-3 tie

Last year’s game drew 8,729 to Harbor Park and was played despite heavy rains earlier in the day. It seems every year rain threatens this game, but every year they get it in. There is little chance of rain today, but temps should be in the 40s at first pitch.

In last season’s game, lefty Richard Bleier started and pitched two scoreless innings for the Orioles. Right-hander Brandon Barker started for the Tides and allowed one run in four innings. The O’s lost Barker in December when he was taken in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft.

Today’s scheduled pitchers will be Andrew Cashner for Baltimore and Yefry Ramirez for the Tides. In two Grapefruit League starts, Cashner has allowed one run and five hits over nine innings.

Sisco Throws Black Gear Sidebar.jpgThere are still a few questions not yet answered concerning the Orioles. Who will serve as the No. 5 starter early in the season? Which pitcher will be in long relief? How much will Chance Sisco play? How soon will Alex Cobb make his first O’s start? April 9 appears to be the earliest that happens. Will Chris Davis really bat leadoff?

There are plenty of other questions, but those are a few to ponder as await the first pitch of the last game that doesn’t count for a while.

The expected Orioles opening day roster:

Starters: Dylan Bundy, Andrew Cashner, Kevin Gausman, Chris Tillman, No. 5 starter

Bullpen: Brad Brach, Darren O’Day, Mychal Givens, Richard Bleier, Pedro Araujo, Nestor Cortes Jr., Mike Wright Jr., Miguel Castro

Catchers: Caleb Joseph, Chance Sisco

Infielders: Chris Davis, Jonathan Schoop, Manny Machado, Tim Beckham, Danny Valencia, Pedro Álvarez

Outfielders: Adam Jones, Trey Mancini, Colby Rasmus, Anthony Santander, Craig Gentry

DL: Zach Britton, Mark Trumbo, Gabriel Ynoa

As you can tell by the dateline, I’m in Norfolk to cover today’s game so check back later here for more on the Orioles and Tides.

They played despite some snow: Yep, the Army-Navy baseball doubleheader was played at Camden Yards on Sunday despite some flakes that caused a brief delay. Click here to check out more.

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