Game 1 notes and quotes (updated)
As always there will be a full gamer and notebook up on Orioles.com, but here are some game notes and quotes…
The Orioles first run of the spring was scored by catcher Matt Wieters, who doubled to open the second inning off Twins starter Kevin Correia. Wieters moved to third on Chris Davis’ infield hit with shortstop –and former Twin—J.J. Hardy bringing him in with a sacrifice fly.
The Twins took the lead with a two-run homer from Josh Willingham off Tommy Hunter in the top of the third inning. Hunter gave up a leadoff double to Darin Mastroianni in a 25-pitch frame, throwing 13 strikes.
Orioles lefty Zach Britton had a scoreless spring debut Saturday afternoon, facing five batters in a 19-pitch first inning against the Minnesota Twins in the two clubs Grapefruit League opening game.
Britton, vying for a rotation spot, gave up a one-out infield hit to Eduardo Escobar on a tough backhand play that hit off third baseman Manny Machado’s glove and Josh Willingham followed with a left-field single. Britton got Ryan Doumit to ground out on a would-be double play ball except Brian Roberts bobbled it and they couldn’t turn two. But the play didn’t end up costing the Orioles with Chris Parmelee lining out to end the inning.
Roberts, coming off of season-ending hip surgery, grounded out in his first two at-bats.
Jake Arrieta followed Britton and threw 11 pitches, seven strikes, finishing up in the bullpen to get his pitch count around 30. Arrieta issued a two-out walk to Drew Butera for the lone runner in his frame.
Chris Davis had hits in his first two at-bats and made a few nice defensive plays at first base, while Steve Johnson pitched a scoreless fourth inning with a walk.
Orioles top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy worked his way out of a bases-loaded spot in the fifth inning in his spring debut. Bundy struck out Darin Mastroianni on three pitches to start things off and allowed a broken-bat single to Eduardo Escobar and a right-field hit to Brandon Boggs. Brian Dinkleman worked a two-out walk on a full-count before Bundy fanned Chris Colabello on a called strike three.
Here’s what Britton had to say about his outing…
[on how he felt] “It was okay. Definitely trying to be relaxed the first time out. Don’t want to overdo it or anything. It’s easy to do that. Felt pretty good. Made some good pitches down in the zone. Left some balls up. There was a hit, but for the most part, it was a pretty good first one.”
“I haven’t pitched in Spring Training in a whole year,” said Britton who started last year on the disabled list with a left shoulder injury. “It’s nice to get out there. I felt pretty good. You build off this one and go get ‘em the next time.”
[on how his offseason was different this year] “I cut back on the amount of throwing I did. I just wanted to take more time to build strength and throw later in the offseason. I think there’s positives and negatives to that. Obviously, I think your velocity might come a little later in the spring rather than the first game out and you’re ready to go.”
[on foul balls meaning his sinker is working]“It was actually really good today. Moving a lot. I threw a couple good down in the zone that they took for balls, too, so it’s a give and take. The four-seamer was a little up. They hit the ball pretty hard on the four-seams today. They were up and over the plate, so I’ll just make an adjustment next time.”
Here’s what Arrieta had to say about his outing…
(on how he felt) “I felt strong. I wanted to really drive the fastball downhill, bottom of the zone. Guys now are probably going to be swinging early and often, especially as spring gets underway. They haven’t acquired really many at-bats, so they want to jump on fastballs when they see them, but that’s what we want to work on: command of fastball, keeping it down, and then mixing breaking balls when we need to. I only threw two of them. One was up in the zone, the other was really good. For the short amount of work in today’s game, I was pretty pleased with it.”
(on if command led to his struggles last year) “Command wasn’t as refined, so just tightening up the fastball command, and obviously you have more room for error if the ball is down than up in the zone. I’ve talked to Wieters about this a few times. He’s like ‘don’t be so conscious of spotting it in and out. Keep the ball down with your stuff and you’ll be fine.’’’ That’s really the main concern, keeping the ball down with everything, just drive the ball downhill.”
(on only pitching an inning with the World Baseball Classic lengthening camp this year) “Spring’s a little different this year, so I think innings are going to be a little harder to come by at the start of camp. A lot of guys have got to get innings. We’ll get innings, and the guys who need to get stretched out to start, they get innings. You just have to go out there and take advantage and get your work in and get people out. That’s what it’s about.”