The Baltimore Orioles and new manager Brandon Hyde will play their first two spring games at home in Sarasota this weekend. Kind of a sweet way to open the spring slew of games; the first two games being at home, and on a Saturday and Sunday. But then again in baseball there aren’t days per se. Saturday may as well be Tuesday, aside from getaways days and so forth. But forget about that – we’re only in spring training.
But it will be interesting to see how Hyde (a rookie manager) spins his player rotation in these spring games. Usually the regulars will play in the home games, but the road rosters are usually full of what end up being reserves or minor leaguers. Obviously there’s a rule which says you have to bring at least three regulars to each road game, but teams find ways around that.
However what exactly is the Orioles’ starting lineup? I suspect Davis is at first, Mullins in center, Stewart in left, and maybe Sisco or Wynns behind the plate. That aside, might the home games have lineups that look a lot like those of the road games?
The Orioles are a team who can legitimately say that they may not be able to being “regulars” on the road, as they don’t know who the regular players are going to be. The Birds don’t hit the road until Monday afternoon when they head to Fort Myers to play Minnesota. I suspect that we’ll simply see different young players in that game as opposed to what we’ll see this weekend in Sarasota.
However as has been said as hoc, this Grapefruit League “season” is going to have a different feel. In the past the home games have been about guys getting their reps in to get ready for the season. This year we will see some of that – again from the Davis’ of the world perhaps. But for the most part each game (home and road) will be about competition. It’ll be about guys fighting for a job. And on the flip side it’ll be about Brandon Hyde and Mike Elias picking the very best 25 guys to put on the active roster after March 25th (the final spring game).
And for only the first time this spring (because I end up writing this frequently), I’ll remind folks that wins and losses don’t matter. At least in any game between now and March 25th. Sure fans are going to follow the games and root for the Orioles to win – and that’s okay. But a loss in which a guy or two steps up and tries to lay claim to a position, or a loss in which a pitcher retires the side 1-2-3 is much more valuable than a “ho-hum victory.” Now that said, when a player puts on a uniform, make no mistake that he’s playing to win!