Well…today’s the day we’ve all been waiting for since last October. Okay, not really; that comes a month from now. However the Baltimore Orioles will open Florida Grapefruit League play this afternoon at 1 PM. Presumed staff ace, Chris Tillman, will be on the mound this afternoon for the Birds, and he’ll be followed in the game by Zach Britton. Both pitchers will see approximately two innings of action, and I would presume that the usual foray of relievers and roster hopefuls will follow Tillman and Britton in the fourth through the ninth innings of today’s game.
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I wouldn’t put too much stock in today’s game, and instead if I were a fan I’d look forward more to tomorrow. Most teams don’t bring too many veterans on road trips during spring training, especially early in the spring. For instance, we know that Buck Showalter has already announced that Nelson Cruz will make his debut tomorrow at home against Toronto. Teams are “required” to bring three regular starters on each road trip, however that can often be nebulous given the fact that teams could legitimately argue that they might not know who’s starting and who’s not. Tillman certainly counts as a starter in a sense, and for all we know Britton might as well. Nobody really “police’s” this per se, however it’s kind of a code among teams so as to ensure the competitiveness of the games given that people are in fact paying to get in.
However ultimately, today begins a short grind which will culminate at the end of the month when the Orioles leave Sarasota and head for Baltimore. But it also begins a long grind that will end at the end of the season. As I said earlier, I wouldn’t plan on seeing each and every game recapped here on Birds Watcher (as we do during the regular season), especially games where many of the regulars aren’t expected to see much action. However we’ll cover spring training from every angle and every perspective as we go on. And given that tomorrow brings us a home game in Sarasota, it might not be a bad assumption that Sunday morning could bring a formal game recap!